Awaiting spring
Blessing from above: Fr. Reynante Tolentino climbed up to the top of the Antipolo Cathedral, bringing with him the Blessed Sacrament
Awaiting spring
PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2020 - 12:00am

Five weeks into lockdown and I’m getting the hang of it.

My first discovery? I no longer have to step out of my door to be able to see, meet or catch up with anyone. The internet has solved that.

What a welcome change to stay in my oversized, wild printed duster and not fix the hair, wear lipstick or pencil-draw the arched brows. Oh, yes. As my cousin Christy said, “When this quarantine is lifted, it’s going to be every woman for herself; there’ll be a mad dash for the hairdresser.” Yes, but not yet.

If I were to make a list of the good and the bad stuff during this COVID-19 spread, it would look like this:

The bad:

Sickness and death. I gasped at the shocking line of the graph chart, shooting up so rapidly that it looked as if this virus was beyond containment. Someone said that “one death is one too many.” Worse, if the death comes close to home — losing a parent, a sibling, or a beloved friend.

Selfishness. Father Juvenal Paul Samia said that the worst in man breaks out in a crisis of this magnitude. People grapple to stock up on supplies and put up walls to keep outsiders out. Panic sets in and decency is thrown out the window.

Judgmental thinking. There was a man in his 70s who tested positive even though he was asymptomatic. He immediately submitted himself to the medical authorities and was ready to be isolated to stop the contagion. When the people in his town got wind of the news, they threw rocks at his house and set it on fire. Was it his fault that he caught the virus?

Fake/false/bad news. This one is unnerving. It fans out like a pest, although some find humor in it — a sick type of humor.

Once, I was told that an old friend had died suddenly of a heart attack. I immediately got a perpetual Mass card and called up his former ladylove so we could pray a novena for him.

I got the fright of my life when I ran into him — quite alive and still in his element, on his motorcycle, in a leather jacket, wearing shades and a helmet, ready to ride like the wind. Shoot the sheriff! (I didn’t get a refund for that Mass card, by the way.)

Politicking at its lowest. The trouble is, once elected into office, some see it as an entitlement to throw their weight around and demand special treatment in all situations. The only way you can stop this is to vote wisely for honorable and decent candidates and never sell yourself short. Why be duped again?

The good:

Great equalizer. This virus does not choose. Like death, there’s no ranking, no totem pole — from the top or the bottom, it will devour you.

Quality time with family. With schools out and offices closed, Mom and Dad and children discover each other in a different light. May fun and patience and tenderness make this time more priceless and memorable.

Bayanihan spirit. It’s a revival of that generous spark, that breath of life, a time of sharing with neighbors, friends and the community. Someone told me that in order to receive new blessings, you ought to keep your hand open: “Take my hand and we’ll get through this together.”

Faith in God. Rev. Fr. Reynante Tolentino climbed up to the top of the Antipolo Cathedral, bringing with him the Blessed Sacrament. With the sunset adding a dramatic glow to the landscape, he raised the Monstrance and blessed his town and the surrounding towns. The sky was so clear that Fr. Reynante saw far beyond the horizon.

Online recollection. My phone kept vibrating on my night table. It was alerting me that there was livestreaming of Masses, novenas, meditations, visitations and other Lenten rites. Welcome to virtual reality. You could be sitting in the same chapel with the Pope in Rome or your parish priest in Makati, San Miguel, Quiapo, Harrison, Paco, or Sampaloc, celebrating and praying together, as one. Just keep the WiFi connection strong at 4GB or higher and you can stay in your house sandals and in front of your TV monitor.

Fresh air and blue skies. Open your windows and no dust will fly in. You get a cool breeze on your face until mid-morning. These are the warm, balmy days of summer, before dusk.

Stronger commitment to taking care of the earth. We’ve been warned about the consequences of global warming and not protecting the planet — but we were slow to take heed. Now, many more of us will promote green living that helps conserve energy and prevents air, water and noise pollution, and the deterioration of human health. We will learn to save the earth because it is our only home. We can’t remain healthy if the world we live in is sick.

Revitalized spirituality. We are in April, a time when summer here peaks and flowers bloom. It conjures up the image of a promised love made even more meaningful and beautiful by a love so pure and true that it fills the heart. I remember an old love song that goes, “Time heals all things so I needn’t cling to this fear, it’s merely that spring will be a little late this year.”

We don’t need to wait for that perfect time. God stays and remains here — with us — in our trials and in moments of darkness. Like me, I hope you wear the armor of God and stay safe.

COVID-19 REYNANTE TOLENTINO
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