I never know what I’m going to write about on any given day. The tips of my fingers slightly touch the keys of my keyboard, ultimately printing words that appear on the screen.
Invariably my post portrays portraits from the past, Lessons Learned from living with Chronic Conditions. Not today. When I shivered under bedclothes last evening, it wasn’t the drop in temperatures that kept me from falling asleep. Images from CNN flashed through my head as I rested upon my pillow. Entering my dream state, miniature golden keys unlocked sealed hidden doors to render unimaginable images from the Philippines. Massive destruction, miles of devastation, and bloated images of lifeless bodies were everywhere the cameramen could shoot.
Husbands lost wives, wives lost husbands and children had become orphans. Anderson Cooper profiled a woman whose family had sought shelter from the storm in a bus, now violently flipped over, lying on its side. When the surge washed over her family’s ‘safety net,’ she lost her husband together with six children.
Watching Mr. Cooper’s report, my eyes welled with tears. If it had been me, I’m not sure how I would have gone on with life? Yet there she was, walking through piles of rubble in bare feet, carefully covering her dead loved ones with the finest plastic garbage bags she could gather. To her they were gifts of dignity. Treasures others did not have. All the while she searched for three dead children, not yet found.
Entire families had been swept away with blackened sea mud and painted wooden sticks of what thousands used to call “home.” Before the typhoon struck, people of the Philippines were happy and surviving. They made a life and living in a land they loved. For many, the ground beneath their feet was the only soil they had ever run their fingers through.
As of yesterday, people who have survived don’t know where to go or what to do. If they want to leave, how do they get out? There is no working airport.
On television I heard deep gutteral wails as young and old cried tears of unknown grief. Far too many have nothing left, nowhere to rest their weary bodies or weakened minds.
These people, no different from you or I, have not been given the most simple of commodities in order to live. Food, water, shelter, or medical care. Some of it has arrived, but there is no way for it to reach those who so desperately need it. The survivors of the typhoon are miracles. They know this to be true. Yet, they ask themselves, “How will I survive the aftermath?”
In the end, what hurts my heart the most are portraits of the Innocents. Children’s faces, their dark eyes blank and wide in shock, hang tightly to any parent left. They are too afraid to let go. Tiny toddlers clutch their mother’s weeping bosom for comfort. Newborn infants suckle their emaciated mother’s breast for life to sustain them. Sadly, milk may not produce another day. I fear for these children, the lambs of God. What will happen to them tomorrow or the next day, or the day after that?
The situation in the Philippines will not render itself better anytime soon. It’s going to take a lot of time, work and effort from all around the world. In the interim, people are dying every single day. People like you and me. Your children and mine.
When I woke this morning, my husband tuned the television to CNN. The news I watched the night before was not a dream. I knew it before I fell asleep…I know it now. I grieve for the people of the Philippines.
I ask you to think of them. To light a candle, say a prayer and help in any way you can.