Day 89 of LockdownRead More
Dear May 2020,
I skipped writing in March and April, the height of quarantine in the Philippines.
But tonight, I will document a bit.
I flew to Manila on 3rd day of March. With a two-kilo luggage excess I was fined for the first time! It was a first time in 12 years of working overseas. But when I got boarded, my jaw dropped seeing the aircraft almost empty for a popular midnight flight.
When Wuhan a city of 14 million people went on lockdown by January of this year, something in me said that China is facing something serious. At the back of my mind was a thought that an outbreak was about to happen soon. Since then, I started to read news and blogs about the virus and Wuhan as much as I can.
At that point, more than curious I was fearful.
One time in my working life, I with a colleague isolated a compound from mouse brain. After, physical and chemical treatments the cell went through, I was so surprised to see that the cell was still alive! “How can it be able to withstand that?”, I told myself while I peeped into it through a microscope. Science definitely has answer but my soul was awed by its strength. It remained alive until we decided to pour hydrogen peroxide. Deprived of oxygen, it died.
Witnessing that few years earlier shaped my mind that the next kind of a deadly bomb is by the use of a cell. Tiny. Powerful. Unwavering.
With fear of an outbreak to happen soon, I flew to Manila. “If ever my hometown would go on lockdown, I will be home.” was something I bear in mind.
Why I want to be home? I have read stories that when the virus spread in Wuhan that while many left the city, a lot of Wuhan locals too went home to be with their family and faced the health crisis with their loved ones. China is known to be family – oriented. And I want to be home, just be home and together with them will face a crisis.
So, pandemia was declared by WHO and the world experienced quarantine this generation will never ever forget.
The Sacred Gift That I Have Been Given
While the entire world is under the threat of the virus and I have been under the law to stay home and buy things for my family, this gave me the opportunity to realise the depth and beauty of one gift that I have been given – the gift of freedom.
At this point of life, it includes the freedom to hug, freedom to go out and experience life, freedom from illness, freedom to choose time to leave home and be back, freedom to get physically close to another person, freedom to worship, freedom to express complaints and disgust, freedom to mourn, freedom to visit a patient, freedom from name-calling, freedom to inquire, freedom to work, freedom from lust, freedom from sins, freedom from violence, freedom from impunity and freedom from lies.
Quarantine made me see that freedom is the greatest gift of God to mankind.
All along I thought it was life. But then the existence of an illness caused by a new virus brought to a question “what is life without freedom?”
Then, I remembered the cell we experimented on few years back and realised freedom was the power I saw in that cell had. It was fighting for its life, for its freedom to exist and multiply, freedom to be the cell it was created to be.
Freedom was the power I witnessed and it never left me.
On this night of Pentecost Sunday, I recognise immeasurable honor to be given freedom. We celebrate Pentecost because Jesus died for us, set us to freedom and to be never under again under the yoke of slavery.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you for Your gift, freedom.
This is all hair quarantine May photo with my furry housemate, Clarise, who is getting more comfy sleeping beside me.
This morning I woke up with a message from my immediate boss sharing the message from our global Environment, Health and Safety advisory that staff who spent a vacation in China during the Lunar New Year are advised to work from home and be cleared form any symptoms of flu before returning physically to the office. The other day, I went to a drugstore and found no stock of facial surgical masks.
Yesterday earlier morning, I woke up with a message from a friend a that Kobe Bryant and his daughter are confirmed dead from a helicopter crash. Was that for real?
The other week, the prince I have been following since the day his parents got wed and during the ancient days when internet has not yet been discovered, left his royal title and announced to the whole wide platform of Instagram that he and his wife are pursuing to be “financial independent”. Prince renouncing title?
The other week, I woke out from a nap with a message from my sister back home relaying that the volcano where we go to frequently, every time I am in my parents’ house, spew heavy smokes and that 72 flights were cancelled on that day.
It’s still January and life has already thrown biggest situations the universe can ever experience. I don’t know what to say, or, I will just borrow the words of an author of an acclaimed short story,
“Stop the universe. I want to get off.”
Life is running so fast and I am not getting well with its ride. In the midst of fear, I realized twenty things from all four big events happened in the recent days:
1. Heroes are born during the odd times. We love heroes and so we must welcome challenging times.
2. Life is short. Spend it excellently.
3. Life is fragile. Let it be under one higher and mightier power.
4. There is a holy and sacred reason why wild animals are not part of the mainstream life. So, let them be far and welcome the diversity.
5. Not all adorable, tall and athletic men like to be prince. One wishes to be a commoner.
6. Legends are never made overnight. It takes 20 years or so and a whole dose of hardwork and perseverance.
7. Travel insurance is worth buying regardless how long the travel is. Period.
8. Mask is a must. Keep always a box.
9. Blessed are the fathers who can hold their child’s hand up to the last breathing moments of their child’s life.
10. Blessed are those who left earth while wearing shoes of a supportive and guiding parent.
11. Blessed are those who experienced ashfall and continue to rise from the ashes.
12. Blessed are the people who looked and cared after victims while they are also at high risk.
13. Blessed are the people who spent their wisdom and skills to protect the people.
14. Blessed are the courageous for courage is infectious.
15. Legends are those who never committed failures, but those who accepts their mistakes and change their ways.
16. One of the biggest legacies that can be passed-on on to child is neither money not power. Neither, fame nor influence, but the ability to smile during trying times.
17. Blessed are the passionate for they shall bring glory to God.
18. I have been writing this write up since January 28th . It’s already first of February and I still am stuck at number 17. I guess sometimes life is like that you thought for 20 but you only have until 17 and that it is completely OK.
19. Virus does not discriminate and so should the possible carriers.
20. Look – out for each other. After all, we need one another to survive.
It is the first of 14 years that she is not anticipated to show – up. Although, that she did not join us in a yearly basis, at least we get to receive her message and we talked about her and receive her life’s updates around the table of dinner during family’s special occasions. On this event of my mother’s birthday and my parents’ wedding anniversary, it is the first time that it finally sunk deep to our hearts.
She is not a sister by blood but their 14 years of togetherness with my biological younger brother that started during their early part of university days made me feel, act and think like she is my sister. I and my family, have only been waiting for her to legally acquire my last name. I can go to a long list of how the entire family treated, anticipated and worked on for that day where she would be my sister-in-law and mother of future beautiful nieces and nephews. Until that she was not around during the Christmas season and my brother kept quiet of our inquiries…. Our concerned questioning.
Having my two other elder siblings married their first boyfriend and girlfriend, I am not used to parting ways of someone who has been attached to a family member.
I didn’t know that it is this… painful, too.
When the news broke then, I left her message telling her that she still has a sister in me and that I still am here to support her dreams.
Then, I felt the need to question my intention of reaching-out to her to check whether this intention is purely for her benefits or this is intention is tainted for me and my family only, and not even for my brother.
During this dinner of my parents’ wedding anniversary, my father asked about her to my brother. There was silence and someone said “Let’s move – on from her.. together, as a family.” There was even longer silence.
We definitely miss her and maybe it would take a while to stop looking for her and presence, but for now, I and my family need to step back. I need to stop trying to.. win her back to be future my sister-in law. I.. or…. we need to stop longing for her presence as our future in-law.
We need to let go of the label.. the label as future in law.
For now, we have to learn to value and cherish her as a person, as someone who has been part of our lives. She is someone who had done great things to someone we truly love, my younger brother. She was there during the family’s darkest time and her presence and support were truly felt by everyone.
And that alone is a reason to love her.. forever..without the label of future-in-law.
Knowing that reason made me think that she has been a family member ever since we started loving her, in spirit and in truth. She has been my sister all though-out that 14 years. That loving her does not necessarily mean that she becomes is a sister -in-law. If love is setting free then it means we are setting her free and we have to let the label of future – in law go. We would love to respect their decision where she would be happier, find true and lasting love even though it means she will be physically parting ways with us. Without asking for explanations.
For now, my family will move on, together from the label but never losing not the good memories we and our families have shared together.. once upon a time.
Thank you, Lord, for people who once became closer to our family. God bless their hearts..physically far from us.. Amen.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly
Jesus, the Saviour, the Messiah was raised with this kind of man, a man who is just, righteous, considerate, compassionate, loving and protective.
I believe God continues to raise men like him, like Saint Joseph.
May you find someone like him today in your midst.
May you build someone like him today in your family.
May you recognise someone like him today.
May you choose someone like him today.
Thank you for reading.
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