THE COVID ORDEAL
Having lived the Covid threats for several months with Spain as one of the third highest death reports in the world, was so alarming and left us almost paranoid at times. It was so when I lived those days either in the university or among the roads going back home in Madrid. It was a very challenging experience from hygiene, care for others and keeping distance from friends and even to members of our own community.
I thought that such experience will be lessened as I go back to my own country knowing that at that time, we had very few reported cases yet. Much to my surprise, as I travelled to return to my place of birth, the health protocol in the Philippines was tougher than those in my place of embarkation. 6 days quarantine in my first arrival and 8 others in my city of destination. Besides, the reports were mere figures no matter how preoccupied or how much we lament for the situation globally.
However, in my two months of stay with my mother in my native city, I have been engulfed by the intense preoccupation with my community and those of my family. Not until, the figures before had become part of me as my elder sister is one of the numbers, her mother in-law lost battle with the virus just this morning. Along with my sister is her father-in-law in his senior years, her sister-in-law in mid-forties and a niece of about seven years old.
Today, I went to Church to offer Mass for the dead, to beg for healing of my sister as for those afflicted with the virus. Very timely, the Gospel for the day (Mt 8, 23-27) tells us about the disciples´ preoccupation of Jesus seemingly sleeping while tossed by the storm at sea. The anxiety of the disciples over their security resonates with our present condition and the ordeal we have over Covid blows in our city, in our family. Jesus seemed to be asleep in the midst of our cries, our supplication for help and His aid to heal our dear ones. We sometimes feel like demanding the Lord for miracle, to be at the mercy of our supplication.
It dawned on me the hardness of human heart, makes me realize the doubting qualities we have of His presence not far from what his own disciple Thomas´ attitude right after His resurrection. Many times, we want proofs of His handiwork, demanding at times of His miracles instead of listening and obeying His will, His way of seeing through what we categorize as “storm”. We know by catechism, that these trying moments are always coupled on many occasions, the abundance of His grace for us to walk through the waters. Indeed, we are continually invited to see Him through the storm, not to doubt of His gentle presence, His powerful silence.
These days (as was three days ago), as a family, we are assailed by doubts and anxieties, we keep our eyes hooked on messages and calls of our sister´s updates. Yet, amid this “storm”, we keep our hands crossed and trusting (and entrusting) in the Lord, day after day that she gets better. Our groaning continued as she told us that she will be taken to a Covid facility to isolate her and her in-laws, to keep her away from us, from her husband and son. It is a genuine pain of separation that Covid-19 amassing the world at present. It is a direct message to our hearts of the anti-life, anti-human, anti-community aspects of this microscopic giant of desolation. It threatens every character of relationship among humans, creating devastation, aloneness and anguish in every single affected person, families and among health workers around the world. Besides, it leaves everyone in an uncertainty of a future, of what lies beyond the bend.
This is a loud call to learn to trust and do better in our “today” and for the rest of the days. We can´t live self-sufficiently, we are an entwined weave of life. The most we could do is make each other happy while there is time. Just as the kids, who know better how to rejoice and plunge freely, for they know their trust and protection is sure in their parents care and their joy is certain among their friends.
Thus, these complex experiences of human life during this pandemic, touches the very recesses of our heart, makes us ask where our treasure lies and in whom we entrust and for whom do we labor and for whom do we live? It brings us to question our existence, its essence and purpose, to the point of why we are doing what we do at this point of time.
Where do we anchor our fragile lives, the most endangered treasure in this planet?