Thanksgiving, the great American holiday that allows us a day to be thankful for our many blessings. A day to get together with family and eat to our hearts content! Forget about our digestive system for a couple of days as we work through all the leftovers.
Thanksgiving means something more to me this year. Sure, I’m thankful most every day. I still have a job, and a roof over my head. I have food to eat and water to drink. There’s a lot of things to be thankful for, especially my family.
I am blessed with my kids here in the states, and my grand kids. I am double blessed with my wife “Mercy” and our 2 kids on Camotes Island, Philippines, and my extended family there. Not to forget my siblings and their families. I’m thankful I have one huge wonderful family!
So, I’m extremely grateful every day, that my family is healthy and happy! I thank God for that!
A few weeks ago I was worried and frightened that I might lose my family in the Philippines, my wife and children, my extended family there, as Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) bore down on their country and tiny island. Fortunate for them the eye of the storm missed Camotes Island, but not by much.
They suffered through a terrifying storm, one that tore most all of the trees down and ripped through houses, towns, and everything in its path. They tied down the roofs and huddled in what was determined to be the safest building. The evacuation centers were not necessarily the best place to go and some of them were destroyed in the storm. Many people died in those shelters.
For me, the hardest thing was not having communication with my family during the storm. I did get a call in just before the worst of it hit, and was relieved to hear all were okay there so far, and that trees were falling all around. It must have been terrifying for them, it was for me too in my worst case scenario imagination.
Communications went dark for a few days and all I knew was the unfolding tragedy I saw on the news. I tried for days to get word, and finally did. My family survived the storm, unlike the thousands who didn’t.
A few years from now I will retire on Camotes Island. We are working towards building our ocean view retirement home. We had the first floor exterior walls up, but no bond beam or second floor supports. That wall came down in the storm. So did many of the houses in our small village and on the whole island.
The storm was 350 miles wide and affected nearly 1/3 of the 7,200 Philippine islands. Everything changed for the people of the Philippines over night. Gone are the comforts of home, the water and power supplies. It must be difficult to find the gratitude of surviving the storm, when everything you know is gone.
I’d like to ask the people who survived every calamity. Sandy, Katrina, Andrew, the many towns across the Midwest devastated by tornado’s and the great fires and floods in the Western states. The wrath of Nature can tear your world apart. The world as you know it! Life goes on, doesn’t it?