Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thank God for life's simple joys!

Rammasun's coming and going is as good a time as any to thank God (or whatever you call the Higher Being, if you believe in one... or in several) for life's simple joys. I realize that highlighting them right now is my coping mechanism to what I had expected to be a series of difficult days:  I am not used to see my creature comforts being stripped down to bear necessities. No electricity. No water. No wind (yes, I do miss the air movement... Stuffy inside the house). No telly (oh no!!).

No, this is not a countdown of 100 happy days or 365 days of blessings or something. So don't expect hashtags.

Here we go...

Thank you, God, for good Samaritans!
A metal sheet of my house's roof was torn off by the strong winds of the typhoon. Two guys in the village who didn't have anything to do back home were walking by and volunteered to fix the roof before rain started falling again. They also took care of cleaning the backyard. I did give them some money because the clean-up and repair took an afternoon of their time. So two worries crossed off! Stress level reduced. 

Thank God for these guys! My to-do list was shortened significantly because of them!

Thank you, God, for my family!
My family seems to carry that big red panic button around all the time, with my mom always at a heightened state of worry when I couldn't answer the phone for a few hours. I do understand the need to know what the conditions were right after the typhoon, but with fluctuating cell signal and no electricity, it's highly difficult to stay connected. Calling (and highly worried) while I dealt with one problem after the next, it's just stress-inducing.

On the other side of this whine- and argh-inducing coin, I do thank God that I have family who cares about me. And who are very demonstrative of their concern. Who loves me to bite-sized pieces. I am, truly, appreciating my family. 

Thank you, God, for neighbors!
All for one, and one for all, as Dumas' Three Musketeers always say. I felt that sense of camaraderie when the winds calmed down and people started moving out of their houses to clean the mess that Typhoon Rammasun had made. If someone will paint a mural of the Filipino typhoon-proof spirit, I'm sure that our scene would be a small piece in it: my neighbors and I were laughing about my fallen roof sheet! It's just amazing... I didn't know that I had it in me to be happy (or at least to not be sad) in the face of such a situation. It also helps that these people are my neighbors since I was younger. They're like extensions of my absentee family. Any non-Filipino would've found us weird. But hey, laughter is a better thing to do than whining about how difficult conditions were, right?

Thank God for these neighbors! My goodness, if it were a different set, I might have a different set of reactions!

Thank you, God, for friends!
Well, on day 2 after the typhoon, I was trying to keep my brave face and my go-get-'em voice on mainly for the benefit of my family so they wouldn't worry so much. But much of the strength came from friends who take my mind off my situation. 

My friends, particularly, those into wakeboarding, effectively distract me from the constant reminders of my post-typhoon situation with their stories. They keep the mood upbeat as they sent updates about the conditions in their homes or of the road with the emphasis that they are fine. And when I felt really low (and about to cry with sadness) because I was totally not looking forward to my second cold dinner alone in the dark (with only three candles in front of me as company), i was invited to dinner!! I almost shed tears of joy just seeing lit light bulbs! The joy of hearing music through speakers! The happiness of watching a switched on telly and hearing the whirring of an electric fan! Oh, the comfort of hot soup!!

Thank you, God... You've given me friends who are fountains of positive vibes to (hopefully) last me the weekend and beyond!

Thank you, God, for the things I take for granted when they're easily available!
This one's easy. Electricity and water supply. Intermittent at best, zilch at worst. I've grown up to living through typhoons and later queueing with other neighbors to fetch water by the bucket at a neighbor's hand water pump. See, long time ago, my house used to have an electric water pump. So if there's no electricity, there's no water. So for me, I've never minded not having electricity as long as I have water (that I don't have to get blisters for). Typhoon Rammasun came along and the lack of water through the tap reminds me how convenient life has been these past years. 

I also became increasingly dependent on electronic gadgets. Who wouldn't, with files being passed on via email, conversations being coursed through social media, music being streamed via the Internet, calls transmitted by cell tower signals... Right? Plus laundry washing has always been a breeze because it's done after an hour of flicking the start switch. With that dependency came the steady requirement of electricity, Internet connectivity, and mobile network signal. So a few hours without electronic "luxuries" is an annoyance but a few days without them is absolute nightmare. I had to remind myself the this unplugged and disconnected condition was the opportunity to find peace and quiet and to catch up on my reading. It's also good arm exercise, washing clothes by hand.

Thank you, God... You've reminded me that what I'm taking for granted make my life easier. Without a steady supply of those, You teach patience and appreciation.