For what I still have

I stand before what once used to be my home, shock about to make me fall
to my knees. The tsunami has swept away . . . everything. Nature’s
merciless jaws of furious torrent and gushing water have spared . . .
nothing. Nothing at all. Life’s souvenirs, gifts, photographs, luxuries,
childhood stuff . . . all gone in one tsunami.
What I have truly lost is irreplaceable. With time, I’ll recover clothes and
belongings – the insurance will cover all that – but things that were
hardcopies of my memories, they’re lost. They’re nothing but wet mush and
fragments far far far away. The irony threatens to choke me.
The community services have set two local high schools that survived the
tsunami for people like me who don’t have living quarters anymore. I will
stay there tonight – and the day after – and after, until transportation comes
on track and I can travel to my sister’s city.
Hours later, sitting in a sleeping bag in one of the high schools – Redmont
High, I guess – a lady comes and serves me a plate of food (bread and
mashed potato, some greens). It’s not much, but enough to sate my hunger.
The lady smiles, tells me her name is Jasmyn and that I can ask her for help
if I need it.
I draw a sharp breath.
Then something within me changes. A strange feeling of solace washes
over me, and I say thank you.
I count the things I have: food, water, shelter. There are compassionate
and selfless humans around me. I’m surviving, and after a few days I will be
with my family.
The loss of so many things has made the lamp I still have burn brighter in
the dark. It has led me to see what I still have more clearly, and be grateful
for them. I appreciate my luck now. The things that I still possess have
much more meaning; they are worth so much more now.
I will savour all the positivity life will gift me, and life itself will be much
more beautiful.
Within me now is a fire that flares brighter than all, melts all ice and
negativity, and makes everything brighter. It is the fire of gratitude.

-Tejal Doshi

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