Lockdown thoughts
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - April 12, 2020 - 12:00am

“Water, water everywhere yet not a single drop to drink.” This is a famous line taken from the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”

Well, this line came into my mind when I walked into my closet one morning and laughingly said, “Suits and clothes in my closet, shoes on my shelves yet not a place to go.”

There is so much time in my hands today. Ever since the enforced “lockdown,” I have had ample time to think. I call these my lockdown thoughts and observations:

• Every day is a daily dependence on God’s grace for protection and provision. Health for the body and food on the table. 

• My designer daughter Hannah, husband Jason and my grandson Matteo are staying with me. I tend to think that this is the best family vacation we ever had. Family vacations are not about going places together but about being together even when there is no place to go.

• The economy comes to a grinding halt. The balance of maintaining health and sustaining the economy is now the biggest burden of government leaders and policymakers. 

• The long debate, whether work at home should be allowed, has become moot and academic. 

• This virus has forced reluctant companies to go into digital transformation.

And then, my thoughts focused on the honor, bravery, and heroism of our health care workers in which we often call them our “frontliners,” and indeed, they are. One doctor in America says: “Health care workers are not front-liners, we are the last line of defense.” It is the people like you and me who are the frontliners. This is why we need to be in isolation, and wear masks. She has a point to this, and then I thought about it a little bit more. 

• Our police force, soldiers, armed personnel are risking their lives too.

• The grocery people, food personnel, the delivery crew are “frontliners” too. They were described as “unskilled labor,” but with the situation, we now refer to them as “essential laborers.” A sign in Brooklyn says: “Health care workers, grocery store employees, delivery people are now more important than pro athletes, actors, and famous musicians.”

On a more somber note; the virus has taken a toll on many. Humanity been brought to the imminence and immediacy of death.

• The virus does not choose whether one has a lot of money, power, influence, fame or the lack of it. Everyone is susceptible. Contrast this to just a few months ago when humanity boasts of how technology rules the world. Admiration for the powerful and influential. All those seem futile at this moment. Isn’t this a humbling experience, especially when the specter of death looms so near and possible.

• The virus is a cruel killer. You cannot come close to the afflicted to offer comfort, you cannot come close to mourn for those who have passed. And this breaks my heart just thinking about this.

• Stay home. Wear a mask. Not so that others would not infect us but so that we would not infect others. Some young people refuse to follow instructions, and think they are invincible. They point to statistics showing that very few young people lose their lives because of the virus, and only the elderlies are susceptible to it. This kind of thinking is so stupid and selfish. One very upset businesswoman said, “Wear a mask and stop killing the elderly!” I mean, how more poignant can you get?

I have so much time to think. Some thoughts scare the shorts out of me (I don’t wear pants anymore except in doing webinars). Some thoughts remind me to be grateful for the people and things we take for granted. But I need to constantly remind myself that I need to be strong and lend my strength to those who are fearful and afraid. I claim the promise of He who says, “Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you.” And this gives me peace and comfort. I do not know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future. May this be in your thoughts too.

Today is Resurrection Sunday. Death has been conquered by Christ who came, died and was raised again. No chance for Easter bunnies this time in the lockdown. But best time to reflect upon the hope that Christ gives and having the certainty that with Him we are never “locked-down” by death but we shall be raised up to be with Him for eternity.

A Blessed Resurrection Sunday to one and all!

(Connect with Francis Kong in www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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