We've all heard about what happened to the Philippines. We've all seen rants being posted online criticizing relief efforts, aid and other botched up humanitarian efforts by the government. We've seen the destruction the typhoon has wrought. We've seen some finger pointing. We've seen politicking happen. We've seen people leverage on relief efforts to up their political capital for 2016. We've seen the sympathy and kind hearts of people who got up and participated in whatever way they can to help ease the suffering of the victims of Yolanda.
We've seen what it is to be human - both good and bad.
But what do we take from this experience?
Has your faith been tested? Has your faith in God been manifested? Has your faith in humanity been restored?
For the past days, I've deliberately tried (best effort) to avoid reading up on articles or looking through pictures of the destruction by the typhoon and plight of the survivors. It pained me to see that in this day and age, such suffering can happen.
Don't get me wrong, I know in fact that there are a lot of suffering happening in the world - with the civil war in Syria, with the hunger and abuses happening in Africa, with women's right still in question in certain parts of the world, with children being trafficked and sexually abused...
But the aftermath of Yolanda hits closer to heart because those are people I'm indirectly related to. Those were people of my blood. And in the wake of the destruction, there's also that thought that, what if my family and relatives were part of the victims? How would I feel if in some way, it was my family I was seeing on TV and in the news? How would I feel if I saw on TV debris and dead bodies littered at the site where our house should have been?
I couldn't fathom the thought of 'what if - I was directly affected?' This is why, I avoided as much as possible to realize and accept that what happened did happen. The initial reaction I had was, OMG. Then I decided to find the best institution/charity I wanted to donate to (I decided on unicef). Then I just tried to zone it out of my mind because the more I thought about it, the more I felt helpless.
I know I could have gone to participate in the "bayanihan" efforts some of my friends have organized. I know I could have but I decided against it. I wanted to escape for the time being because it will only put out questions in my mind that I wasn't prepared to acknowledge and face.
Call me out for being a coward, but why do these tragedies and natural calamities happen to people who are mostly already vulnerable? Why are people who are already downtrodden (based on my perception) put to the test? It seems almost an excuse to say it is to test their resilience. What is God trying to tell us? Why are some people fortunate while others are not? It's not even fair to use the word fortune because it entails that there's an aspect of luck to it.
Before, I was in the belief that people are where they are based on the decisions that they made which follows the decisions their parents and the people before them have made. Simply put - "We are who we are and we are where we are because of a sequence of decisions we have made and was made for us." But that is no longer a fair belief that everyone was created equal. If so, it follows then that the world was created with inequality - but for what purpose? Is it because of human nature that the world continues with its inequality? It makes me shudder then to think that we were created in the image of a God. We can argue that we were given free will, but to what end will free will get us then if the 'power of good' seem so minute compared to the evil and destruction that plagues us.
I know that as one person, it's not enough to resolve these issue. I know that unity and solidarity should be able to triumph over these adversities. I know that the world will continue to be unfair and human suffering will continue to happen. But for now, I'll cocoon myself away from feeling defeated and watch the world go by and observe the recovery of the people who have faced Yolanda head on. At the end of the day, we all have our own fleeting lives to live. No one is going to live my life for me. And in that sense, we are all alone.