Father, when was the last time you went to Baguio?” asked a friend one day as we crossed paths along the sacristy corridor. Before I answered her, she said, “Alam mo, Father, nakabuti iyong earthquake. Ang ganda ngayon ng Baguio. Ang daming improvements.” All I could do was smile.

It made me reflect on why things get better after the worst has come. Is it because once you have reached rock bottom, there is nowhere else to go but up?

Did the fire at the Ozone Disco have to happen for lawmen and ordinary citizens to look into the presence of = fire escapes in various establishments or even the presence of fire extinguishers or fire hydrants? Did Japan have to be totally devastated by the A-bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki for them to be totally = opposed to war as a means of conquering the world? Instead, Japan woke up to the realization that they could still have a hold on the world but this time with the use of the camera, the radio, television, and all their high technology.

So disaster need not happen if people think a little more of others and the consequences of their choices on other people’s lives. We ought to be proactive rather than reactive. We have to be planners who are always a step ahead; not that we have to be pessimistic, but we have to face the reality of the worst possible scenario always and plan how it can be avoided or averted. We cannot just shrug our shoulders when all the “what ifs” start to stick their heads out at us and say, “Bahala na.” We cannot leave Salety to chance. We cannot leave the risk on peoples’ lives to chance. We cannot keep plugging the holes in broken pipes when they break instead of choosing the right size, strength, and positioning of these pipes. We as a people must hot even be happy with the minimum. “Puede na ivan,” we seem to hear often Filipinos say. We have to know what we want and how we want it in the best possible form if and when possible. Do away with “pasang awa” and “lusot an.”

All things have to be well thought out. All things need planning so that we can anticipate problems and kinks and not just be taken by surprise by them. Even if God is the Author of the Master Plan, He has given us the freedom to take hold of our lives and plan our weeks ahead. Set priorities and truly be His helpers as co-creators. After all, the work of creation has really not ended. It goes on.

Yet, we must remember that God always has the last say inwhatever planning we do and however well we do it. Is it not true that “Man proposes and God disposes of?” That is the other side of the coin. Sometimes, no matter how well we plan things, God can get a message across in the way we least expect. In the end, a lot depends on our disposition and attitude.

The meaning of the experience does not lie solely in the experience itself but in our attitude toward it.

Thomas Edison was one of the greatest examples of a man who saw all that was positive in a negative experience. His son reported that his laboratory went on fire when his father was 67. He was a great inventor, and imaginably, many of his great discoveries and inventions, which took him years to study and complete, were caught up in flames. Yet, he sat watching the fire as it was progressing and even wanted his wife to see all that glowing splendor. As if that was not enough, the next day, as he looked at the ashes, he exclaimed, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” That was not just a romantic, idealized comment, He was indeed a man of hope, and he went on to invent a phonograph.

These are the people God uses to continue his work of creation. People who do not let failure take the better side of them. People who are not bogged down by any obstacle or disaster. These bold visionaries do not stop planning, executing, and creating. More importantly, these people continue believing, hoping, and beginning each time anew, knowing fully well that all things are possible and renewed with God.

Jesus Our Light

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