Monday, April 16, 2007

Disasters and the Christian Response

This won't be long as I don't have much time. I'm writing to try to catch my breath and gather strength and energy for what lies ahead.

I'm in the middle of a nightmare and I refuse to give in to panic. I don't know where to start. A voice inside is telling me to sit down, make a To Do list, and go through them one by one without being emotional about it. Another part of me just wants to go crazy.

This state is exactly how the speaker during Friday's Lingkod-Ligaya joint Easter Celebration/ Seder Meal described a living nightmare. I remember listening to him and saying to myself, I don't want to go through another such nightmare. Lord, please give me a few years of abundance/ plenty after the past five years of drought and disasters. Lord, spare me. The speaker described vividly how he learned that his best friend died. He was still in high school then, so it was decades ago, but he could still remember the details of that painful day.

Nobody died on me; thank God, but a disaster happened to one of my best friends last Saturday. While she, her family, and our barkada were all in Canyonwoods for business planning, their house caught fire. She learned about it at 3 a.m. and by the time she and her family arrived, the fire was already out but 60% of the house got burned.

What was worse, however, was that 100% - as in everything - of our office files were burned as well, for they were located in their den, as we were planning to move them into our new office by May 1. We lost our permits, contracts, receipts, files, documents, etc. We lost computers and external drives and other equipment. Tears streamed down my friend's face as I hugged her. I couldn't cry. I just stood there, staring at the broken windows, melted switches, and blackened floors.

I do not have the strength or the wisdom at this point to say why this happened. All I know is that it is Easter, and our Lord protected my friend and her family from worse disaster (imagine if her children were there when the fire broke out). We are doing things one step at a time. For really, at this point I can only take baby steps without breaking down. It doesn't show when you look at me. I'm writing how it really is inside, however.

If I were not a Christian, despair would permeate me, not only because of the vicarious disaster that happened to my best friend, but also because of its effects on me, my work, schedule, etc. On top of all these, in a span of 24 hours, the mom of another good friend passed away, another friend sprained her neck and is bedridden, and still another friend suffered an asthma attack.

Tomorrow morning I will talk to the youth about being a Christian at the kickoff of our summer youth program. I will tell them that Christianity does not make your life perfect, but it allows you to have hope amidst the imperfections of this world.

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