Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘loss’

Leveling Down the Contention of Words

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

“There has never been anything at the magnitude of what we are trying to do now,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told palace reporters at a press briefing last Nov. 13, “Not in size, not in volume, not in even the breadth of it.”

As the national government admits being appalled at the disaster left by Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda as its FIlipino name) ten days ago, the rest of the world feels mutual. It’s like watching a horror movie, except it is in the primetime newscasts. However, being in the very scene of it still feels surreal to me.

I would have loved to tag along with one of our teams assigned to Tacloban City last week. Tacloban, Leyte was one of the greatly devastated places left by Yolanda. But considering the place’s limited necesities for a woman like me, only an all-male team was sent.

As first hand witnesses to a storm’s aftermath, I tried to understand the hardships they experienced. They had no place to stay, no food and water to sustain them (as they have given their provisions to the Tacloban people), and they have to endure the stench of the dead and of human waste. But how much more I tried to feel the heart break for the people who endure the loss of what they have owned and the loss of their very loved ones. What was left was their very existence, coping with the last strain of humanity nearly being snatched from them. They try to survive in a desolated town unfit for living.

It might be easy to say that the rest of us who stayed wish to come to

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes --- and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes — and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

Tacloban just to give out a hug…or maybe a small act of kindness through food and water. But how far are we willing to go? How far would we be willing to sacrifice time and your comfort zone to feel their pain. Living there sounds too inhumane for most of us. Helpless, all we can do is sigh and speak out our thoughts and symphathy.

As I watch from afar, it’s a pain to hear criticisms and politicizing at all sides. There’s this underlying contention between the main government bodies, the private entities, and the vox populi. We can talk too much. It’s easy to give blame. But can’t we just shut up and try to feel the pain of the victims themselves? Perhaps, it’s easy to make conclusions in what goes on in their everyday life. But can’t we think of focusing at their basic needs first? These people, are just like us — human, limited, and in need of one another.

Perhaps, most of us can never understand how it is to be in their shoes. For us living far from them, we try to comprehend what flashes through our screens or what blares through our airwaves. But we can never see the whole picture. Who are we to judge conclusions, then?

Perhaps, some of us can never get the chance to reach them personally. Perhaps, most of us might never understand the whole picture of what’s happening and why it happened. But setting aside our own conclusions and criticisms might help rebuild a new future. A little grace, a little love, through our what-we-have can uplift their spirits. Behind the camera, must be a more drastic story beyond words.

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Revival of a Lost Warrior

Like a fallen tree I lay dying
On a barren soil battered by rage
No matter how I tried to stand up
I am pulled back into its perilous embrace

Bring me back to pastures green
Carry me beside the still waters
There let me be revived from within
And grow back to reach the sky

I once thought I can bear this earth
Its savior sung in a thousand songs
Yet I am one single warrior
In need of a thousand friends

Gather once more my scattered thoughts
Put me back into the arms of love
And sing to me unspoken grace
For in them I will find my rest

Pain Beneath the Shadows

Must I forever lay silent
Among the same-shadowed faces?
Must I keep to myself the pain
When your eyes pierce through the shadowed throng?

From the sea I saved you
For second chance to live
Out of the darkness I pulled you
For another chance to love

Yet you pull back into the shadows
Telling me it’s not worth it all
The love I offered you freely
You sold for a empty cup of cherry

Fools roam around my existence
Forcing me to give up all
For a thousand deaths, I am ready to die
Until you take me once and for all

A Sleepless Petition

My spirit stirring in the night
I am reminded of this one soul
My body resting and my eyes shut
To a surreal world I was ready to embark

Yet I was continually bothered with this distant soul
What was she anyway to me?
She had nothing to do with anything in my life
But for the sake of silence I sat up in strife

Then the Good Father reminded me of her needs
The loss covered by her lofty deeds
There He poured out His love for this wandering soul
To bring her back to Him is His heart’s goal

I wonder why a distant me should stand in the gap
To ask for her to return to the Father’s lap
Then I wondered if anybody has been praying for the removal of her yoke
When they thought she was already complete and whole

Out of the darkness when my petition was poured
The peace of His heart in me soared
Then I knew I have released and decreed His deepest desire
And from here my spirit lay silent all through the night

Full Trust in the State of Massive Loss

“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
Job 2:21

This verse has been ringing in my head over and over for a few weeks. I just can’t imagine how somebody like Job can still praise God despite of his sudden tragedies in life. Just like the song, he was able to bless the Name of the Lord, for he knew that everything came from him.

When I passed through the book of Job, I was quite surprised to see how this man had already died to himself. He’s not totally blameless, you see, for he still had small flaws in his being. Yet, his viewpoint of God is so different from his contemporaries even from most of us. He knew that because of God’s infinity and greatness, he knew he had no right to rant and complain, but he wanted to plead his cause before the Lord. I felt quite guilty when he told his wife “…shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). I was even more shocked because his trust was not rattled when he said “Though He slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15). Talk about a person dead to himself!

It’s hard to die to oneself, I know. Although I have received the Lord Jesus and surrendered my life to Him, I must admit I’m not yet 100% submitted to Him. There are many things and aspects in my life that are hard to let go (on my part). Selfishness is a natural part of me. I have this short-term memory to forget that everything I have are just lent.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…” Psalm 24:1 says. Indeed, everything is His and yet he gave dominion to man (Psalm 8:6). And because we have sold ourselves to the enemy, we began to dwell in selfishness, forgetting that what we have are just lent so that we are taught to be good stewards.

The Lord gives us blessings but He does not ask for a price. It’s just, we have to remember that He has the right to take something from us for our own good. To learn not to whine when something is taken away is hard, especially when it’s close to our heart. He do blesses, but He wants us to become fully close to His heart and fully trust in Him. When we don’t receive a good salary though we have worked very well, shall we praise Him? When the car dies down while we are rushing to the office, can we still lift our hands in adoration? When we missed an opportunity to bring us to greener pastures, can we still say glory be to God? When the most beloved person died in a tragic way, can we still say blessed be Your Name?

Job had lost hundreds of camels, sheep, oxen, and donkeys. But I believe that most tragic was the loss of his ten children. In the end, he was able to worship as he mourned (Job 2:20). To worship God is to show we still trust Him, despite of tragedy. To worship at such a moment is a sign that we have died to self. It just takes much more of me to be just like Job.

I got a lot of pains and complaints and yet I want to just like Job’s character. I still have a lot of refinement to go through. I’m no holy person, but I’m just God’s work in progress. May I learn and know more, and let me become like Jesus. I pray, let me say despite of life’s pains, blessed be Your Name…

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