THE BIRTHDAY STORM

Image Rain is a shower of blessings from heaven, they say.  But what I got on my birthday was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever to make landfall in world history.

I woke up morning of November 8 to gray and dreary skies, had a birthday lunch lovingly prepared by mom, then dashed off to work, waiting for super typhoon Yolanda’s deep impact (international name: Haiyan).

Birthdays were much simpler and blissful when we were kids, weren’t they?  My earliest memory of my birthday was in prep school.  It was my special day because I got to wear casual clothes (a striped sports shirt, white short pants and rubber shoes) and not the school uniform.  I brought to class lots of balloons and a cake with marshmallow icing topped with super hero action figures to share with my classmates.

As you get older, birthdays evolve.  Some years it’s happy and memorable, some years it feels like a chore, other years, it’s a downright struggle. Image As it has been tradition over the last several years, my birthday dinners are celebrated with the people in the late-night news team in the newsroom, more than 50 of them, who’ve become like extended family to me.  They’ve seen me at my best and worst, and birthdays have become signposts of the previous year’s experiences and of what is yet to come.

For this year, we shared a modest feast, shared some laughs and good cheer, and for a split second, we forgot that there was a super storm wreaking havoc in central Philippines.

But just as quickly as the celebration started, the party broke up to prepare for the news program which was airing in less than 3 hours.  And the stories of that evening were no less than heartbreaking.

Our news teams on the ground were soaked and drenched to their socks, buffeted here and there by rain, wind, storm surge and flying corrugated tin roofs, with little or no food and water.  But the citizens suffered way, way much more.

Life, with all its twists and twisters, does not stop even for birthdays.  With hope in our hearts, we blow a birthday candle each year with all the joys and heartaches, the happiness and grief, the blessings and losses, the comings and goings.  But when you really think about it, you do realize that you’re still so blessed.

And with God’s grace, you may have a birthday cake again next year.  Hopefully, it is topped, not with a super storm, but a super hero action figure.

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6 thoughts on “THE BIRTHDAY STORM

    • Hi, Ami! Thank you very much🙂 Glad you read my first post. Thank you for encouraging me to take the plunge! Thank you also for keeping the Philippines in your thoughts during this time of devastation.

  1. Paul, I’m delighted to know WPI rekindled your enthusiasm for writing and I look forward to reading your future blog posts. Thanks for sharing this first one. The devastation in the Philippines is shocking, and I have been wondering about how you were coping. I supposed you and your team were frantically covering the story, but I’m glad ot know you got a moment or two in the midst of the chaotic story to celebrate your birthday. Many happy returns!

    • Dr. Bunton, so happy to hear from you! It warms my heart that I have friends from other parts of the world who are thinking of the Philippines at this time of devastation. Thank you for your concern.

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