A little over a year ago, Metro Manila experienced floods my generation had not seen before when Typhoon Ondoy crossed the Philippines.
My family's home was spared, but I have friends - one of them even reads this blog regularly (God bless you special Babs!) - whose homes were damaged by the floods.
There were a lot of stories that came out of that experience. The ones that lifted up my spirit, my belief in the goodness of people and my hope for my country and mankind were of strangers helping each other, even to the point of death. Jesus says we should lay down our lives for our friends. During Ondoy, I knew at least of one person who lost his life for strangers.
The morning of that fateful day, my Pa was in the business district of Makati when he slipped and fell and broke a bone. He sat there under an overpass like a beggar, haggard and worn. A security guard helped him sit after his fall. He called home but it wasn't as if my Mama and the rest could do anything but try to get to him as fast as possible.
By some force of grace, the kind I can only attribute to the God who loves me and loves my Pa, a friend of mine named Sol (I met her through my sister-in-law) went through that way, saw my Pa, and never left his side. She bought him clothes from the nearby department store as his clothes were wet and stained from his fall, and took him to the hospital. She stayed with him till my Mama and my brother who slowly drove the car at a crawl due to the floods arrived at the hospital more than nine hours after his fall.
I have heard this story a number of times from my Pa, but yesterday in Makati, before he and I took a bus that would take us south of Manila where we lived, he showed me where he fell. And I see the story very differently now because it didn't seem like the place where you'd find someone you knew, much less someone who would come to your aid at a time of need, to help you and sit with you through your pain.
Since then, my Papa has a new Christmas ritual. He goes to the supermarket, buys Christmas ham and queso de bola and a lot of fruits. My Mama packs them all together, and they give it to Sol, this angel aptly named after the Sun.
I recount this now because sometimes I need to know that goodness lives. And this story reminds me that I need not look very far. I live in goodness. And I live and die in hope that goodness lives in me.
"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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