Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Bowed but never Broken

Anderson Cooper is a veteran CNN journalist. He spent several days reporting onsite about the devastation brought about by typhoon Yolanda from disaster zones in the Philippines. He even got involved in a controversy with Korina Sanchez of ABS-CBN who took offense to the harsh realities he was reporting.
On his CNN “Anderson Cooper 360°” one Saturday Morning, he thanked the Philippines and the Filipino people for “showing the world how to live.” This are his words:
“We’ve seen people with every reason to despair, every right to be angry, instead find ways to laugh, and to love, to stand up, to move forward.
A storm breaks wood and bone, brings hurt and heartbreak. In the end, the wind, the water, the horror it brings is not the end of the story.
With aid and assistance, compassion and care, this place, these people… they will make it through. They already survived the worst. They’re bowed, perhaps tired and traumatized, but they are not broken.
Mabuhay Philippines! Maraming Salamat for all you’ve shown us. Maraming salamat for showing us all how to live.”
One character of the Filipino is our resiliency. We are often compared to the bamboo. With strong winds, the bamboo is bowed but is resilient. It stands again. But when I went to Bantayan Island three days after the strongest storm ever to hit Northern Cebu, I passed by a barrio in Madridejos known as “Kangwayan.” It is suppose to be “Kawayanan” because it’s an area where bamboos are abundant.
I was horrified by what I saw. All the bamboos there were not only bowed. They were actually broken. So strong really was typhoon Yolanda that it defied expectations. Yet still we manage to smile. We pick up our lives and return to normal.
I believe the reason and foundation of our resiliency is our faith. We believe in God! We believe God is greater than the storms our in lives. Because of Him we can stand! Because of Him we can always rise from our falls. We always have the strength after the storm.
On this 3rd Sunday of Advent we are reminded that God is near. His “nearness” inspires us. His presence strengthens us. His closeness gives us delight! This  mysterious presence and our strong awareness of it makes us smile – even laugh because God will still take care of us.
Hence, we are invited to take on Two Qualities in our Advent Preparations:
1.     Be Patient
Let us be patient because the Lord is coming. He comes to fulfill His promises. He will satisfy our expectations. The Letter of James encourages us to be patient like the farmer (Jas 5:7-8). After all his labor and toil – preparing the land, planting the seeds and watering them diligently – he now waits patiently for the seeds to grow. He needs to wait because the growth of the seeds does not belong to him. It belongs entirely to God. Thus after doing what we can, we wait. God will do the rest!
We need patience in waiting for the Lord. Without this patience, we begin to complain. Our hearts grows weary and heavy when we begin to count the minutes and hours. If we wait with a grumbling disposition, the waiting would seem eternity. Let us, rather, wait with patience filled with excitement. God will surprise us with what He can do!
2.     Be Hopeful
We also need to be hopeful. Hope gives us power not to be defeated or broken by life. Whatever comes to us: wind, water or wars – “it’s not the end of the story” (says Anderson Cooper).
I read John Pages’ Column (Match Point) in Sunstar few days ago (December 11). He narrated an inspiring story by Lester Tabada, a runner from Southern Leyte. With some of his friends, they decided to “Rise up and Run for Tacloban.”
Some did a 5k run others 10k. But they run around Tacloban despite the lack of so many things – no registration fees, no singlets, no water stations, no marshall. They only had hope in their hearts. They wanted “to show to the people of Tacloban that we are stronger than Yoland.” They ran traversing the hardest hit barangays; some with borrowed shoes and running gears. The goal was just to show the people “hope” through running. Lester wrote: “these were good people trying their best to be strong for each other.”
Patience, hope and resiliency. These are qualities that come through our faith in a God who is one of us. He comes to be our strength. As Psalm 146 says: “The Lord raises us those who were bowed down.” For this reason we may be bent but never broken; bowed but resilient.
Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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