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A Reckoning

Image courtesy of Darkkong
I've always thought of myself as a basically unselfish person who can let go of material things when other people are in more need of them than I am, or when I don't need them in the first place.


But when it was time to search the closets for clothes that could be given to typhoon victims, there I was hanging on to the shirt that I haven't worn in almost a year. There I was clutching a blouse that doesn't fit me anymore. There I was saying no, that pair of ill-fitting shoes stay just because.

When it was time to figure out how much money we can donate to relief operations, there I was justifying the "need" for a new bread toaster. There I was telling myself that surely I cannot cut on food come Christmas Season. There I was sighing that I need an out-of-town break.

As I was planning a trip to the supermarket, there I was again, scheming on a side trip to the bookstore, when it will probably take me a lifetime to read the books I have hoarded but haven't read. And maybe just a brief visit to the fabric store to check out the floral prints, knowing fully well that I rarely leave a fabric store empty-handed.

Image courtesy of khunaspix
When unexpected events turn out to be tragedies that rob people of everything that they own -- which may not even be much or enough to begin with -- spirits are inevitably tested.  Definitely, the spirits of those who were clutching at their loved ones' arms at the height of a storm surge but found themselves alone when the waters have calmed down. Or those who have the clothes on their backs and nothing else besides. Or those who look to the horizon for help that they had hoped would come, but...

However, tragedies also test the spirits and hearts of those who were spared suffering and loss. Those who experienced but a breeze and a drizzle while wind and water unleashed their wrath elsewhere. Will they feel empathy for victims who have died or are on the verge of dying and being buried in a mass grave? Will they recognize the destitute and the downtrodden? Will they welcome them? Or will they look away?

I was safe, dry, and well-fed when what they called the super typhoon hit. Many, many people were not. I saw them on TV. I read about them in the social media. I heard about them in the car radio on the way to the supermarket. The priest talked about them in his homily last Sunday. You meet people for lunch, you wait for a meeting to start, or you bump into somebody in a store and you end up talking about the typhoon victims.

I was spared suffering and loss. My spirit and heart are being tested.

May I not fail my brother. May I not fail Him who spared me.

O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood,as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


  1. "tragedies also test the spirits and hearts of those who were spared suffering and loss".

    Your post gives me much to think about and reflect on...about myself and my (everyday) actions. Thank you for your openness.
    Prayers for all.

  2. Love this Marcia. My husband made me so proud. we both named an amount to give and his was triple mine. I can't wait to go home and help. May I too not fail them.


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