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How in the hell can an area be almost entirely destroyed, and cell phones still work. Land lines out, electricity gone, and, yet, the relief of hearing good news, tales of survival, in real time. Amid unfathomable destruction, confirmation of near miraculous survival.

A look at the map of the northern end of Cebu Island shows one population center, Bogo City, another ten miles or so that, by satellite is mainly sugar cane plantation, but interspered with pockets of houses and small farms, and that all of this is the next piece of land directly west from where the center of the monster storm was first slamming ashore around a short 24 hours ago.

And now, on a cell phone from our house in the middle of the mess there is a large group of family and neighbors eager to tell my wife here how wonderful it feels to be alive after an experience unlike any that any of them have ever had. We've become old hands at post-typhoon phone calls. Two or three direct hits a year for each of the 14 years that we've been together here. And barely ever a tale of hardship, let alone one of utter destruction as far as the eye can see.

This time nothing remained standing but the two houses that the entire neighboorhood had sheltered in. My wife has a niece in Texas, and they and we each built a home for family, and possibly for ourselves later. Concrete construction, steel roof, still standing and no deaths in that small place. Maybe that scenario repeated itself all across the stricken area, rather than the grissly chore of recovering and caring for bodies.

This group will sleep dry, and start to rebuild. They'll need everything now, and god knows where it's to come from. But that now qualifies as the good problem to have.

And then there are all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins spread all around the rest of that countryside who no word has yet come from.

My wife wishes me to express her gratitude for each and every prayer.

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