Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fragility

Around midnight earlier, a fire broke out at Talamban, Cebu. The fire was right across the university, in the boarding house/dormitory zone, and was really close to a gasoline station. I think everyone was surprised when it broke out as it was raining then.

I caught word of the fire in the internet cafe I was in. All of a sudden, many of those around were in a hurry to get out. They were living close to the place where the fire was, and they were in haste to try and save what they can of their things. Having no idea then of the fire's exact location, I went out, too, hoping that the fire was far from my boarding house.

Sirens from firetrucks were blaring as I went out, heedless of the light rain that was slowly wetting me. Many residents - students, professionals, and home owners alike were outside, just as impervious to the rain as I was, and they looked on as the firefighters attempted to put out the fire.

I went on ahead and tried to called my classmates who were near the place, but they weren't answering their phones. I took this as a good sign - either they were out already carrying more important belongings or they were asleep in their dorms, unaware of the fire(which would only be possible if they weren't in immediate danger, I mean, people around them would wake them up for sure if they were in danger).

The fire was put out a few minutes later, a process undoubtedly sped up by the rain which intensified a little during the course of the accident. I went home to change my soaking clothes, took a jacket, and went out again, determined to continue my interrupted internet surfing session.

The incident had me thinking of several things: one, we can never be too sure of the possibilities of things happening - even fires can start during a wet, rainy night; two, we should be glad of the moments bequeathed to us by whatever power drives creation, for we will never know when they'd cease to be given to us; three, we need to be prepared for whatever comes our way - regardless of their nature, extend, and timing; and four, we need to learn to empathize and help those who face troubles, unexpected or not, and be thankful that whatever they're facing is not a burden we have to bear.

We live fragile lives in very fragile places. Places which can disappear in the wake of a chemical reaction.

The extent of the damage of the fire's damage to property is yet unknown to me, although I expect I'll learn of it in the news later today. Although properties were lost, I believe no lives were, and I'm thankful for this. News of tragedy so close to where I'm living always has a negative effect on me - I get muted, if you get what I mean.

In the face of the accident that has happened, it is heartening to see people aid each other - mostly classmates helping classmates, boardmates helping boardmates, and neighbors helping neighbors. I saw students and young professionals carrying bags under the rain. I saw one person carrying his laptop and its speakers tucked under his arm, devoid of a bag and under the mercy of the light rain - I thought the laptop might contain something of great import to him at the moment for him to prioritize it over clothes.

It is always sad to see Loss occur before your eyes, nevertheless, as one man said earlier, "we lost everything, but we are alive." True, Fire may leave ash and soot when it dies out, but it does not mean we can't clear the debris away and build again.

There is no reason not to attempt to regain and even surpass whatever is lost in a fire.

I pray to the powers that be that this fire is the last that happens here, if that's even possible.

Fires may burn and consume, but let us not forget about other fires we look to in the face of disheartening things: fires of hope, faith, and the inner fire, that inner drive, to always become better persons.

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