(LEYTE) — For me, and I may just be dramatic, yesterday’s storm was profoundly symbolic in so many ways. The sun had been shining since I got here in Leyte, and it only rained hard yesterday (January 17), Pope’s arrival. The sun is shining bright today, with absolutely no traces of yesterday’s deluge.
What I’m trying to say is: It took a storm to bring us Leytenos to our knees, and so it is during another storm when His Holiness arrives to extend his hand in solidarity and comfort, to pull us up.
Yolanda was the worst day for many of us; to drive out the trauma of that storm, Amang was the best day for many of us who saw the Pope. Our misery and our hopes were both brought to us by pouring rain and strong winds. Now when we think of storms, we can think of the damage of Yolanda, but we can also think of the renewed hope the Pope brought us during Amang.
The rains of Yolanda washed away many of our dreams; the rains of Amang washed away a little of our fear, worries, and pain.
The Pope came, despite the weather, reminding us that just like God, he will find a way to be with us, even and especially during the stormy times. He didn’t get to stay long, but he stayed long enough to do what he needed to do — tell the world of His love — and cut out the extraneous parts of his visit. He saw the people who lined up for him, and that’s all that matters.
Amang, which I take as something that also may mean “Father,” cleansed the tears brought by Yolanda.
The Pope, too, saw the dedication of our people. That we were going to stand under the rain, no complaints, and that we can weather any storm, thanks to our faith. Our faith is what keeps us moving forward now, and it is our faith that gives us strength to go for 14 hours in vigil for His Holiness’ arrival.
He saw our dedication, and in turn, we saw his.
We were already grateful that Pope Francis decided that he wanted to see us in Leyte, but the fact that there had to be a storm on the day of his visit, and that he shrugged it off to be with us, that he willingly came in spite of it, makes his visit more meaningful a thousandfold. What this taught us: We were treasured, we were valued, enough for the leader of the Catholic Church to even risk his life for us.
We became more than grateful–we became awed, humbled, touched to the core.
So, yes, while the stormy weather truly was dangerous and an inconvenience to many, I think it was a fitting atmosphere for the time His Holiness came.
Coincidence? I think not.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Krizette Laureta Chu’s is from Tanauan, Leyte and is presently Associate Lifestyle Editor for Manila Bulletin. This piece, posted on her Facebook wall, was shared by Ms Chu’s former teacher. Ms Chu granted MindaNews permission to reprint this).