Rains are a sign of life and blessings to many, more especially to me because that’s when i have the most peaceful and long sleep! But at the same time it has a different meaning for other people living in marginalized communities of the Philippines. The showers of blessing can turn into moments of sorrow and despair for some but i do believe that it’s still a wonderful moment of blessings.
Remembering my childhood days always make me more excited and happy about my background as some of the traits are still present. When young i would hear elders pray for rain and when it rains we would celebrate and call it as the blessings from the Almighty. For me as a Child it was time to sleep, i fear the lightning and noise associated with heavy rain, so it was perfect time for a good sleep. It became a habit that whenever there is rain, i enjoy my sleep even during the day. But that seems to be changing since i came to the Philippines, it became the opposite, being more worried and sleepless nights whenever it rains. Before coming, i had doubts about the impact of rain i read from the news, and thought it was an exaggeration of the reality, but when faced with it, it becomes a different story.
As the rains were approaching i was advised by the friend on the need to be on alert, make sure i am connected to the internet and phone whenever its raining so i can call for help. After a few days the first rains started but it wasn’t so heavy to be worried about, just this weekend the long story began. The rains started on Sunday afternoon and i have always been curious to see what the underpass just a few meters away from my place looks like when it rains. I walked to the underpass whilst raining and surprisingly i saw about 10 young boys and girls trying to pack their small bags so fast so they can leave the place. That didn’t move me, i thought it was ordinary for young kids to be playing down there and have to go back home when the rains start. After a few minutes whilst extending my curiosity i decided to move down the main road to also see what it looks like when it’s raining for i always feared being out whenever it rains. Then i saw the kids trying to put together small sheets of paper on the overpass so they can sleep, that’s when i realized that all of them could be homeless. I couldn’t help myself but wonder what their lives are like in such times of rain when they have nothing over the roof, no body walking down the streets from whom they can beg for a cent and not even a piece of cloth to cover their bodies from the cold.
This reminded me of how privileged i am to have something over the roof, jackets to wear when cold and a bed to lie on. My mind quickly rushed to the communities in Tondo that i work with. People who live by the sea wall, in constant danger and whose ground is ever wet and flooded even when there is no rain. I thought of the people who live under the bridges, the desperate families in my neighborhood who always sleep next to the street with young babies. I looked to myself and wondered if rains were truly of help to the Philippines, especially when it pours and disturbs the flow of activities.
I was locked in my room from Sunday evening till Monday afternoon, not being able to go out because the outside is flooded. Reading the news online to notice that the main road outside my place is closed for circulation because of floods and getting to know of many who have no home because of the increase in the water level. Are these really showers of blessing? I am more convinced that these are showers of blessing, we may not see it but we are called to see. An opportunity to be blessed through our generosity and service to the needy. It maybe a time for you to bless others through your help, donation, recovery efforts, time and many ways.
Being a Methodist, i am proud of our collective efforts to help the many people in need. Just last week Tuesday i met the Bishop of the Manila Episcopal Area and UMCOR Philippines Director, working together to see ways of responding to the impending crisis. I am glad that our commitment to extending God’s kingdom extends beyond our immediate circles to the many unknown by our faith and traditions.
These are the showers of blessings, the Lord wants to bless you and me, and those in need and he is knocking at the door. We need to open our hearts, open minds, open doors for these blessings to come in, and i would add open hands for it is more blessed to give than to receive. One of my favorite hymns is Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior, and when singing we always say, ” Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry, while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by”. For sure God doesn’t want to pass by us without blessing us and thus we need to bless others. Just imagine the privilege you have of accessing the internet when others have just lost all their belongings, have nowhere to call home, nothing to eat and need boats to move around in a built area. We are called to spray the showers of blessings to those in need, feel free to open your heart to the still small voice within you and get hold of UMCOR and be part of the blessings!