We are planning to have our roof replaced later this year. It has been a couple of years since we were advised to have it fixed. In fact it already leaked. I just pray it won’t leak some more. But one of my most sincere prayer is not about the roof, but rather while I’m on the roof.
Exactly 23 years ago this month, while I was still in Manila. Classes just started, and I was a freshman in medical school. My father just got admitted to a hospital, after several months of losing his balance, having dizziness, headaches, and finally having projectile vomiting. I was asked to get the films of his head CT scan that was done earlier in the day at UERM, and deliver it at the hospital where he was admitted. I looked at the films inside the envelop, though I have no idea of the images I was looking at, but I read the dreadful word “mass” in the typewritten report. I later realized that I just delivered my father’s death certificate.
When I got home, there was a commotion in our neighborhood. People were out in the streets clutching bundles of clothes while others are carrying small furnitures. I heard the sirens of the firetrucks, and I smelled smoke in the air. There was a big fire a few blocks away from my home street.
When I entered our house, my mother looked worried. She asked me to go to the roof of our 2-storey house and see how far away the fire is. Climbing up the roof is a thrill for me. I am not afraid of heights, in fact, I love heights. I even fly my kite on the roof.
As I climbed up and stood in our roof, I saw the flames devouring houses and turning possessions into ashes. It was on the roof that I prayed so hard not so much about sparing our house from the fire but more so of sparing the life of my father from his illness. When losing your house from the fire is just a secondary concern, then you know that you really have a big problem. What will happen to my father? What will happen to our family? What will happen to me and my future?
After several minutes that I spent there on the roof, I stopped worrying. I found inner peace. Peace in spite of the nearby fire. Peace in spite of all the unrest down in the streets. Peace in spite of the serious illness of my father. Peace in spite of the uncertainty of our family’s future. Peace in spite of my unknown future.
After a while, I have noticed that the fire became smaller and smaller, and the firefighters were finally able to subdue it. Our house will see another day.
Three months later, my father succumbed to his illness. He was 50 years old. Me and my family have encountered many more problems through the years. But God was always with us, as He was with me, when I stood there on the roof.