Lim: On fire 2

Wide awake
Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

As I stood and watched all the contents of our warehouse razed to the ground, I prayed for a miracle. But no miracle happened. But I knew, even in my despondence, that God had heard me. And so, I struggled to decipher what it was He was trying to tell me.

To console myself, I tried to list down all that I should be grateful for during this fire.

Initially, I was grateful for the fact that we were all safe and that our home was spared. But in the next few days, I would gain greater clarity and realize there was so much I needed to be grateful for.

I was wide awake when the fire broke out at 1:45 in the morning. I was able to rouse all to be prepared. I had a bag ready to pack valuables.

Everyone was home when the fire happened. No one was away on a trip. And even my sister who normally never comes home from work the same day she goes to the office was home before 10 that day because she was feeling unwell.

I shudder to think of what might have happened had the fire occurred during a time when only one or two siblings were left in the house with my wheelchair-bound father.

The houseguests we were expecting had not yet arrived and therefore were spared from the traumatic and terrifying experience of the fire.

Three vehicles were in the shop which meant three less vehicles to evacuate that day. Despite the heroic efforts of the first responders, we ran out of time to safely evacuate all the vehicles in the compound. And yet, amazingly, three of the four vehicles left in the warehouse were spared.

The fire was confined to the warehouse despite the strong winds. And though our fire wall at the back failed to prevent the fire from entering our compound, the rest of the wall successfully saved many homes and structures in the neighborhood.

I’m grateful to our employees and staff who stood with us and kept watch of our compound throughout the duration of the fire. As I passed our security guard, Jerome, on my way out of the compound, I remember whispering to him, “Please don’t leave your post.” And he didn’t.

To the lady at the front desk of the Radisson Blu Hotel who expedited my father’s check-in at 9:30 in the morning when check-in time was still 3 in the afternoon and who even took the initiative to waive early check-in fees, may God reward you for extending sympathy and support to strangers in need.

And to friends and family for their prayers, offers of assistance and messages of comfort and support in the aftermath of the fire, our family is immensely grateful. Despite all that we have lost, God has reminded us of all that we still have.

During the fire, I prayed for a miracle. But the miracle I hoped for did not come. Today, my father celebrates his 100th birthday. And I realize that God did not grant me the miracle I prayed for because He wanted to grant me more.

Despite all that we have lost, we still have so much left and more. I think this is what God is trying to tell me.

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