For those who are curious: I live in Cainta.
Obviously I’m blogging so you know I’m okay. Normally rains don’t bother me except the fact that it’s so hard to commute, because our village entrance usually gets flooded and I get stranded inside the village. Plus rains mean brownout and no internet, so you know.
Saturday gave me a whole new reason to be scared of rains. I woke up with a plan to do the following: go to the gym, go to NaNoWriMo volunteers’ meeting, then buy the bag I want and go home. However, I woke up late so I didn’t get to ride with my brother so I told myself I’d just commute. He then warned me to not go out anymore, so I just went online to book flights for our Palawan trip this December. I knew there was a typhoon but I didn’t think much of it, since it’s just rains and like I said, it doesn’t flood in our street. I cancelled the meetings and was fully prepared to be inside the house the entire day and enjoy the bed weather with my new books…but then a few hours later, I went out and my dad said, “Look, water’s rising up to the gutter.”
Again, let me reiterate: we never get flooded in our street.
By lunchtime, water was beyond our gutter, and by three in the afternoon, water was in our garage. Four, water was inside our house. By eight, we crossed waist-deep flood to get to our neighbor’s second floor with our valuables and prayed for the rain to stop.
Waking up the next morning was surreal. Our house…is…I can’t describe it. The things we put up so they won’t get wet tumbled down into the water anyway. My brother’s camera got wet because we didn’t see it. Our clothes are safe, thank goodness, but most of our furniture are wrecked. We’ve cleaned up stuff yesterday and today, but we’ve got a long way to go. Some of my books got wet, I lost a lot of files, my brother’s clothes all got soaked. It’s surreal.
I’ve helped out flood victims, but I never thought I would be a flood victim myself. I try to laugh it out and say it’s time to clean up anyway, but tell me: how does one go back to normal after something like this?
I know I’m luckier than the other ones because most of my belongings are saved and we have good neighbors and our house is still intact and everyone I know is safe (well, still waiting for the other people to text). But my heart is unsettled, and I want to be brave but I feel like I can’t. Sometimes I wish I had the power to magically make everything okay, but I can’t. How can I ever go back to functioning normally again after this?
I’m not mad at God, nor I am questioning His purpose. I’m trying very hard to trust Him right now, to trust that this is a part of His plan. I’m trying very hard not to be afraid, but I feel like I will always be afraid whenever there is rain. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sleep soundly with the sound of rain. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to work and hear the rain without worrying about my mom at home. I don’t know if we’ll even be able to restore our home.
It’s just so, so, surreal.
And then I remember Job.
My situation isn’t anything like Job’s of course. He got it so much worse. But there was this verse that I remember from his book that I am trying to hold onto:
I was born with nothing, I will die with nothing. The Lord gave and now He has taken away. May His name be praised! (Job 1:21)
What strength and faith he has to be able to utter that. Imagine me, losing so little and saving so much and I find difficulty to praise and thank God for it. All I could think about is “What next?”
I want to find the strength to be optimistic, to be brave and to start again. I want to be brave for my family and my friends. I don’t know how, but I know I’m out. And I know He’s got more. And He’s bigger than all of this. And He’s the only one I can hold onto in this time.
Interestingly, when we got back after the flood has gone down, we found that the altar in our house wasn’t moved at all. Everything else tumbled down/was wet, but the water didn’t even touch the Bible enthroned on our altar. If that isn’t a sign of God’s strength, I don’t know what is.
I don’t know what will happen next, and I have a feeling I’ll swing from happy to sad and back and I don’t know when we’ll be able to recover from this…but I’m going to try to hold on. I’m going to try to praise God regardless of what happened…because He is God. And I am not. And He knows and understands more than what I can understand now.
It’s going to be a long week. Maybe even months for others. Thanks to everyone who texted and sent a message through all kinds of social networking stuff. :P Thanks to our neighbors who we stayed in for two nights and to everyone in the street who helped out. It’s far from over, so please keep on praying. Not only for us but for the other people who got devastated by Ondoy.
I will do my best to echo Job in this situation. God, please give us the strength to hold on. Please don’t let us go.
Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
(Blessed be Your Name, Matt Redman)
We’re okay. We’ll be okay. Other people need more help than we do, so please send donations their way. You can visit Philippineaid.com to see how you can help.