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The Better Part of Valor

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. I can no longer where the quotation first came from, but it did come to mind as I watched scenes on TV showing several countries awash with floodwaters, that bring to one’s mind the days of Noah and the ark that saved his life, and of other living things in the world. Fortunately, our poor country has been spared, but we do sympathize and pray for those where unprecendented volumes  of flood water not only destroyed homes and farmlands but human lives as well.

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One could hardly imagine that such advanced and progressive countries are now having difficulty with coping as rushing floodwaters cover their lands and not only destroying buildings, farms and other properties, but also victimizing human lives. Up to this time of writing, it seemed the inundation of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands was still being reported, and scenes on the TV screen showed even vehicles piled on top of each other, probably blown there by both the strong winds and rushing waters.

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One cannot help thinking, and fearing, that this could be God’s way  of reminding  humanity that He is still in charge of everything, and that what had happened in centuries past, could still happen in the present. The toll on those three countries seem to be increasing by the day, and one wonders how their governments manage to cope with the victims and the destruction such unusual attacks, not from human enemies, but from Nature, could be subdued. Maybe the people in those areas are not prayerful enough, and not acknowledging the power of God as the only one who could help them?

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Journalists called what occurred in Belgium as “a deadly deluge” that had claimed more than 500 lives as of last Saturday, to say nothing about the homes that were swept away or destroyed by the rushing floodwaters. And their houses are of sturdier material than our nipa huts and wooden or bamboo supported homes, especially in our barrios and upland areas. Just  imagine the devastation our own people would have suffered had such floods occurred in our distant towns and barangays!

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Now there are only three more days to go before the scheduled start of the Olympic Games, the biggest, and most awaited sports event in the world. Will it proceed, as reports seem to indicate? Already, at least two athletes have been reported to have tested positive for COVID in Tokyo. How many more will crop up, and how many countries are still eager to send their delegations, after knowing that the virus had gotten there before their athletes have even left their countries?  The games are supposed to open this Friday, July 23. How many countries are still decided to participate?

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The United Kingdom was reported to be ready to lift restrictions against the COVID this week, but I have yet to hear reports whether they have gone on with it. I guess not, if the surging of cases still being reported worldwide continues. And even if the government  itself announces a lifting of restrictions as it may do in our case, would our people still be so daring as to tempt fate by behaving as if Mr. COVID has surrendered already? I doubt it. No matter what reports we may hear from other countries and places about how they are confronting this pandemic, let us always remember that famous old saying that “Discretion is the better part of valor”.

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If the Olympics do not take place as scheduled because of the still surging pandemic, what a blow it will be to at least 200 families in Tokyo who were evicted from their sites to make way for the construction of the stadium where the international competitions are supposed to take place. I suppose those homeowners were properly compensated for their “sacrifice”, but what a disappointment it will be, not only for them but for Japan itself, and especially Tokyo, that may not get another  chance to host it for years to come.

***

Tuesday, July 20, has been declared a National Day of Mourning in Belgium, one of the hardest hit by the floods that swept away ”everything”, as one report described what hit the country. It must have been an extraordinarily vicious flood, if it could “sweep away”, just like that, the hardy structures in that country. We are really living in very extraordinary times, where man-made structures, plans and inventions are all of no avail against the forces of Nature. Let us therefore plead with our Maker to forgive us our trespasses and protect us from the ravages that may be caused by Nature.*

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