It’s been four years since Haiyan, the Philippines’ deadliest typhoon on record, claimed thousands of lives and destroyed or damaged million of homes in the Eastern region of our country. Although some of us still sing the songs of grief and loss, others have tried to find a peaceful refuge, built on the memories from that tragic day.
Today, join us as we remember the 8th of November with an unyielding strength and undying hope, through these inspiring lessons that you can learn from our story as Haiyan survivors. Read on.
1. Prayers can be comforting – even for nonbelievers.
It’s so easy not to believe in a GOD until faith becomes your only hope. We’re all just humans and seeking the divine has been one of the ways that can give us strength to carry on and survive the strongest storms.
Believer or nonbeliever, we all need that light in the dark in a form of a sincere prayer to make all the fears go away. We all deserve that glimmer of hope that only comes when we become humble and admit that we can’t be always in control.
2. Sometimes, there are no real answers.
“Why?” This is the biggest question that has remained unanswered in the aftermath of Haiyan. Everyone has lost something and someone, and they kept on asking what they’ve done to deserve this cruel fate. Some people even spend years trying to look for answers only to find themselves at a dead end.
It’s okay to hold on to these questions but don’t let them trap you in an unending cycle of anguish. No matter how hard and painful it is to take the first step, it’s important that you keep moving, breathing and living. You’ll find your way someday.
3. Even strangers can teach you kindness.
Some philosophers think that human beings are naturally selfish with an instinctive tendency to prioritize their own comfort and safety – even if it means hurting and depriving others of their rights as a person.
There may be millions of people like those in the world but it’s not a reason to lose hope in humanity. There is still kindness out there, waiting to be discovered. You’ll find them everywhere, at the most unexpected places – even among the wastelands left by Haiyan.
4. Family is everything.
Life can be unfair sometimes but everything is bearable, as long as you’re with the ones who have genuinely loved you for who you are since the day you were born.
However, sometimes we forget to love these very special people, our family, just because we’re too busy with our own lives. At times, we take them for granted because we think that they’ll always be there, waiting for us to finally find the time – until we arrive at an empty house, an abandoned and forgotten place that you once called “home”.
5. Your money won’t matter in the end.
Most people worship money because of the comfort and advantages that it can give its bearer. While it’s an essential tool to survive this material world, it will not and cannot save you from death.
At the end of the day, what will matter is how much you loved, how you lived and how you helped make the world a kinder place for others.
6. Death is a reminder to appreciate life.
You don’t have to fear death if you know that you’re living your life to the fullest, a life according to your own dreams and aspirations; a life of happiness and contentment shared with the people you love.
Death may end your physical existence but the memories of your deeds, your love and passion will be remembered for all eternity.
7. You have to help yourself first before you can help others.
You can’t save someone’s life without giving the same kindness to yourself. It’s not selfishness to seek a better life and become a better person first before you can start helping others to do the same. You cannot pour water into someone else’s cup if yours is still empty.
If you want to help change lives, work hard for a passion, a dream or an ambition that is enough to lift others up. Inspire them to follow your path and remind them to give back. Spread this love and make this world a better place.
8. Every day of your life should be spent loving and living.
Don’t waste your life feeling bad about every wrong decision you made; don’t be angry at the world for letting you live an unbearable life of heartbreaks and frustrations; and don’t curse at the heavens for not giving you want you want.
Life is too short and too precious to linger in all its flaws. Rather, love deep and love hard. Live as if it’s your only chance to find the happiness that you deserve. Celebrate friendship, drown in romance and get drunk in the intoxicating scent of love. Just live.
9. You shouldn’t be a victim forever – be a survivor.
Sure, reality can be harsh and unforgiving but it doesn’t mean that we should blame ourselves and feel like a victim forever. We have to strive and thrive; we have to fight and do whatever it takes to resist and rise up – because we’re not living in a fantasy world, we’re not characters out of a book. We’re human beings and we know too well that the realities that we have today won’t be perfect. Not everyone will have a happy ending nor an interesting plot, but we can always decide how to write the ending.
Don’t be a helpless and vulnerable victim; be a triumphant and unyielding survivor.
10. It will always be Humanity against the World in the end.
So we should all love and take care of each other regardless of faith, gender, race, social status and even political views. The end of the world won’t be kinder to anyone who refuses to believe in someone’s religion nor to someone who thinks he’s more superior, or richer, or “straighter”.
At the end of it all, we have to fight the same battle and overthrow the same enemy as a people, as brothers and sisters, as friends and as comrades in life.
ALSO READ: 45 Inspiring Quotes about Life
Photo by Victorino Q. Abrugar