It’s a revolution, a transformation, a metamorphosis. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It is driven by some important episodes in your life, to be ignited by one crucial moment that would finally lead you to something bigger than all of us.
That need for change.
Change – a name we’re all familiar with, but we’re not exactly fond of.
Just like shit. Piss.
And Mikey Arroyo.
I’ll get ahead of you in saying this is not Obama-inspired. Give him a break. He just won a Nobel Peace Prize. He’s got enough attention to last until his term ends.
Our dislike for change is due to the fear of not knowing for sure how it’s going to affect our lives, how big its impact on everything we believed in and worked hard for. That’s why we don’t like it very much.
Me, I’m not exactly “friends” with change. I like some things to stay the way they are. I like how some things are mapped out according to how I want them to happen. That even if I close my eyes, I won’t lose my way or trip over because I know exactly where things are.
It’s like learning the alphabet. You mess with the letters, you get dumber by the second.
But there’s that big pivotal moment when you know that it’s important to embrace change. Or the thought of it, at the very least.
I know. This is getting way over your head. You’re probably beating yourself up for choosing to check out the url that links to this site, expecting something a little bit more sensible. But maybe there’s a point to this, which I haven’t reached yet, unfortunately. Let’s see what happens later.
I believe these mushy sentiments have something to do with someone I’ve met a few weeks ago. He’s, um, alright.
Nope, not really. He’s far from alright. He’s a total, first-rate asshole who wrecked lives and destroyed everything that meant to a lot of Filipino people.
His name was Ondoy.
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
-Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Ondoy came at a time when most of us were probably fighting our own battles. But it can’t get any worse when there’s a freakin’ flood right in front of you, rendering you even more helpless. That day, some might be getting cozy at home, chilling on a lazy Saturday morning, oblivious to what’s going to happen next on that ill-fated 26th day of September. But others just had to endure going from one hell to another.
But now that the rains have stopped and the sun has decided to finally come out (and hopefully stay), I think we’ve all realized that there is great meaning behind that awful day. It varies for different people. But I’m sure it’s, well, meaningful. No matter how traumatizing or tragic it was, I think something beautiful still came out of it.
I know. It’s hard to coin something “beautiful” when you’re the one having to clean what’s left of a home that got totaled by the stinking flood; or when you got stuck on the roof for many grueling hours, waiting hopelessly for rescue; or you just witnessed your family members or friends get washed away by the angry, dirty waters.
It’s ugly, it’s demoralizing, it’s completely horrifying. Nothing even remotely pretty about it.
But somehow, there’s always a teensy little bit of a silver lining. For instance, it’s nice to know that Filipinos aren’t all that self-absorbed. The whole country actually joined forces to help each other during these difficult times. People from all walks of life lent a helping hand to provide assistance to those who have been greatly distraught by the worst flood in Philippine history.
But it wasn’t so easy. Scarcity of resources can be such a bitch, because no matter how much you give, it’s still not enough at the end. But that’s just charity in the Philippines 101, unfortunately.
However, the huge effort was there. The international community did not go deaf on our SOS. Hollywood celebrities showed some heart. Big businesses have stopped being profit-mongers (for a while) and went to become relief-givers In fact, Operation Bayanihan in the country hasn’t stopped. Organizations like the World Vision continues its relief operations, even moreso now that Typhoon Pepeng joined Ondoy in wreaking total havoc in this country, this time taking its toll on the northern provinces.
Many people who have survived both Ondoy and Pepeng were left homeless, hungry, empty, hollow and probably traumatized for a long time. But at least, they were not left alone. And they weren’t totally hopeless.
Inspiring stories of heroism and commitment we’ve heard and read in the time of Ondoy might be the last straw that we need. To complete the series for our own giant paradigm shift.
I mean, if not this, what will?
We all have our own dissatisfaction, our“tampo” to the Big Guy Up There, or to Buddha, or to the Universe, whatever fits your beliefs. Because we don’t have everything we want. Because we don’t understand a lot of things. Because we’re stuck with living mediocre lives.
Or for any other more special reasons only we know.
But the super typhoons that recently paid us a visit was a wake-up call. To consider the need for a big change in our lives. But something that not only us can be happy about.
You know, for a change.
I agree with Murakami. The recent storms transformed everyone. I’m sure it changed you too. Maybe you just don’t know it yet.
The question now is, where do we go from here?