I am one of the many people in this world who have experienced situations where I am reminded of God’s power. I have had several experiences in my life that seem so disturbing they make me realize that those experiences were God’s ways of punishing us for our wrong actions. It is also His way of cleansing this world. I have observed many natural calamities that happen in many places, thinking that since it is God who made everything else that we see with our own eyes then He must have caused all these calamities. I think that these life-threatening situations are His ways of reminding us that we should find the right path. They are also his ways of reminding us that we should avoid doing bad actions.
Like the events that happened in Heinrich Von Kleist’s The Earthquake in Chile, God has His own way of making his presence felt. Through nature such as earthquakes and other forms of natural disasters, He makes it a point that people decide to repent for their sins and straighten their lives. I recall one experience that I had a few years ago. A strong typhoon once hit our place. The winds of the storm were slamming the trees hard and the pouring of rain never seemed to end. At the time when the storm was at its strongest, I cannot help but pray to God to save us from the weather and make us safe until the storm has gone. The wind was so strong our roof almost felt like it was going to be blown away. The rain was pouring hard the sound it made against the roof seemed like stones falling from the sky. There was a wide electricity blackout and there was no way for us to monitor the path of the storm and how long it will be in our area. Several hours after the storm has gone, I was glad that I was safe together with my family. Knowing that all of my friends were also safe from the storm, I likewise felt relieved.
However, I realized that not everybody and everything in our neighborhood has survived the storm. Taking a short walk outside the house a day after the storm, I saw how our place looked like a big mess. Trees looked bald as their leaves scatter along the roads together with torn branches, dirty clothes and furniture. Some of the houses in the neighborhood had broken glass windows and crushed roofs. Worse, there were homes that were destroyed, leaving some of the families in our neighborhood homeless for a few months.
Like the people in the opening parts of Kleist’s book, parts of our neighborhood were destroyed. Many things that the people in our place treasure most in their lives were lost. In the book, many people died in the earthquake and many properties were destroyed. However, the calamity can be taken to mean as the start of a new life for the survivors. I can say that the same thing is true for our neighborhood after the storm. Even if my neighbor lost some of his tables and chairs, the end of the storm is a new beginning for him. Even if I lost a few of my clothes hanging outside our house and a few other material possessions, the end of the storm is a new beginning for me. Even if the people of Chile lost the lives of their relatives, it marks a new start for their lives. I believe that both my past experience with the typhoon and the earthquake that killed many lives in Kleist’s book have a purpose. I believe that God will not inflict horrifying circumstances to our lives for no reason because He does not play with our lives randomly.
On the contrary, I believe that the typhoon reminded us of how we were slowly losing touch with God and that we were losing sight of our spiritual needs. I do believe that one way for God to remind us of our responsibility towards Him is through punishments such as natural disasters. By losing some of the material things that we own, we are led to look up to Him and ask ‘why?’ Indeed, why should it be us when the calamity could have just happened to anybody else in the world? That’s the interesting part: the fact that our neighborhood experienced the typhoon tells us that there must be something wrong with our ways. Perhaps it was our time to face the anger of nature so that we will be able to learn lessons in life. I can also say the same thing about the earthquake that struck the people in Chile.
In life, changes have to be made so that we can continue living in harmony not only with ourselves and others but also in the eyes of God. Sure, I can choose to live at peace with my neighbors while ignoring God along the way, but that will certainly not be a wise thing to do since my life is at the mercy of the Supreme Being. While I may also choose to focus my life and devote it on Him, I know that I will be isolated and will not be able to form social relationships with my friends and my neighbors. Thus, I believe that there should be a balance.
Unlike Josephe Asteron whose responsibilities in the covenant were tainted with her relationship with Jeronimo Rugera until she bore a child, people should learn to prioritize their responsibilities so that they will have no problems in the future. Although I find it difficult to manage the many responsibilities I have because of my limited time, I always see to it that I find enough time to fulfill each of my responsibilities. I see to it that I have time to devote to my spiritual needs and time to devote to my family and my school. Forgetting any one of these responsibilities will certainly cause problems in my life since these responsibilities have all become a part of who I am. The least that I should forget, of course, is my responsibility towards God since I have no idea about the things He can inflict unto me just to bring me back to the right path.
These are just some of the many experiences in life that I had in the past. Kleist’s The Earthquake in Chile gives us insights into some of our own experiences in life such as tragic losses that eventually pull us back to the right path. I have learned many things in my life and these lessons that I have learned are the things that will help me brave challenges in the years to come.