The miracle of change
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2020 - 12:00am

Since my last stint with high blood pressure I have turned into a real introvert, meaning I like being alone or only with small groups. I am an only child who grew up mostly alone or with my grandmother so I like my life lived simply and quietly. This quarantine imposed by COVID-19 is comfortable for me. It’s not as easy for my husband who is an extrovert and loves going to the supermarket. But we are both in the age groups most endangered by this virus so it’s not wise for us to go out even if we live just across the street from a supermarket.

We spend much time watching TV. It is the one activity that makes us feel connected to the outside world. Last Saturday I heard about this quarantine and got concerned about our driver who lives in Montalban. I asked him if he had an ID that linked him either to Loy or to their business. I told him he would need one to get through the checkpoint to Metro Manila that President Duterte said would be in place by Monday. He said he had a driver’s license and that would be good enough.

I had told Loy the same thing earlier. He also just nodded.  I have had a lot of experience being a woman and a wife to know that we are never listened to. Men instinctively feel they know better than women and so they never pay attention.  When I was younger I used to get angry about this male attitude. Now at my age I just let them learn their own lessons.

 On Monday, Noy, our driver, who usually comes in before eight every morning, came in late because there was an extraordinarily long line at the checkpoint and he said he never thought it would take that long. Yes, I married Loy and his driver is Noy. I asked him to talk to Loy about his schedule so they could prepare some ID for him. “Do you want to come in to work or stay home? Either way you will get paid,” I said. No, he said, he preferred to come in and run little errands instead of staying home with nothing to do.

 On Tuesday he sent a text saying he could no longer come to work. The checkpoint would not let him. I don’t know if it made him realize that I was right. All I know is when I repeated my statement to Loy about Noy needing another ID, Loy called his son asking what arrangements could be done. That is the typical male attitude — to act when it is too late. But I now have the typical female attitude developed carefully over the years: It’s your problem, not mine. You men solve it. And that is how peace reigns in our home.

I have been taking my time fixing my closet. That activity is interspersed with watching Netflix and the news, playing stupid albeit engrossing games on my cellphone, and following all the groups I am a member of but not saying too much about it.  That is, until I came across a quote from Nostradamus sent by my cousin from Spain. I decided to repeat it. It said:

“Nostradamus wrote this in the year 1551: ‘There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (corona) who will come from the east (China) and who will spread a plague (virus) in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy and ruin the world. It will be the end of the world economy as you know it.’”

That is truly amazing. I’ll bet when Nostradamus wrote that, he really did not know what he was talking about but here it is, folks. It’s like receiving a love letter from the 16th century and wondering how it miraculously soothes your broken heart.

Loy walks in and asks me if I have a spare rosary. The Pope wants us to pray the rosary together later but he doesn’t have a rosary anymore. “We will pray together,” I say, “and I have a rosary for you. It once belonged to my grandmother.”

“We need a miracle,” Loy says. “God has to send us a miracle to save our economy. We have to think on how to save our economy or how to change the way we live.”

I answer: God has sent us this virus to jolt us, to make us realize that we cannot continue to live the way we used to. We must use our imaginations to innovate. We must pray together to awaken our imaginations. We must now learn how to live differently.  And if we learn how, that will be God’s miracle, that He sent us a virus to awaken us, to change us permanently.

 * * *

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