My heart broke watching the news tonight. I barely fought the tears as I watched flashing onscreen, tragedy after tragedy, what tropical storm Ketsana/Ondoy wrought on its victims. I caught myself clenching my fist to my chest, as if desperately holding the crumbling pieces of my heart together. And so I was on my feet, rummaging our closet for clothes. After a few minutes, I was staring disappointingly at the puny mount of clothing I've managed to gather in that fleeting moment of desperation. Surely, THIS is NOT a big help. So much for being a hero. So I let out a deep sigh. And with it, a prayer. If only to soothe the ache throbbing within me.
Beyond the disaster, God allowed me to see and marvel at how Filipino "bayanihan" works. Aside from government and NGOs efforts at rescue and relief operations in hard-hit areas, individuals, barangays, and churches were being mobilized to address the needs of their immediate communities where some have also fallen victims to Ondoy's wrath. In meager ways, perhaps not as gallant as seen on TV. Silently. Almost unnoticed. I guess, tragedy has its compelling way to bring out the hero in us. To choose compassion and act on it.
To quote my good friend Aleks Tan:
"While donations of huge corporations and big brands are being trumpeted on TV, many heroes go unsung: the neighbor who gave shelter, the brave stranger who waded through dangerous flood to help, the sleepless volunteer packing relief goods, the silent prayer warrior storming heaven's gates.... But I guess real heroes and real compassion need no heralding."
I know I would barely make a dent, I am comforted by the fact that I can still help. Where I am. With what I have. With what I can. I can be a hero. So, call me Darna will you? :p