We shall rise again
And no matter how mighty the sun is, it sets at the end of the day. It’s a burst of orange at sundown — playful, dreamy.
Michael Varcas
We shall rise again
NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2020 - 12:00am

The city has cleared up smog has given way to blue skies. And if you’re lucky enough to walk around, the black, billowy fumes over the streets are gone.

The morning sun in the barrio is egg-yolk yellow, its rays splayed on the dew that formed overnight on the broad taro leaves. The dew wends down, pure and fresh.

And no matter how mighty the sun is, it sets at the end of the day. It’s a burst of orange at sundown — playful, dreamy.

Times like this, I am pinning my hope on the blue skies, on the sunrise and the sunset. On the cottony clouds I will hang my faith that one day, we will all rise again from this pandemic. Every day, in the time of the COVID-19, is a new day.

Yes, the silent and unseen enemy is still around. And so is God.

God is not silent and invisible in this battle against coronavirus. He is heard and seen in the selfless acts of the frontliners, in the kindness of the people who help them and the needy, in the obedience of those who heed the call to stay home.

God is not silent and invisible in this battle against coronavirus. He is the mighty hand that welcomes to life those who have survived. He, too, is the loving father, who welcomes those who have come back home to His paradise.

The hope of the people to rise again one day is seen in the conscious and continued acts of generosity of others. The silent virus will not stop us from doing good, from hoping for a new day, from holding on to our dreams, from dreaming again, from dreaming better. The lethal and invisible enemy will not discourage us from cultivating life by being there for others.

We will rise again, perhaps scarred from the deaths of people close to us because of COVID, but not scared to face another day with the hope of celebrating their lives. As we rise, the scars are softened by beautiful memories, remembered with loving kindness and joy. It is in remembering others that we, too, find ourselves. 

We will rise again, with a better appreciation of life. Something that we once held dear all of a sudden became trivial. Grudges, for one. Hatred does not find a space in one’s heart at this time. The long-held rancor was withdrawn from the heart. Hatred as a liability is replaced by forgiveness, an added asset to the soul.

Ironic how a microscopic enemy can amplify panic and fear. But we rise by choosing faith over fear.  We have a concerted faith that the worse will be over. We have faith in God that His might will pulverize the enemy until it is gone, not a trace in the air. We have faith in humanity that for COVID not to transfer from human to human, we need to stay put and treat home as the foremost frontline. Or in the words of Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, “COVID-19 should stop at your doorstep. Our home is our frontline.”

We shall rise again, with a better perspective of the people around us. The frontliners — the doctors and nurses and medical technologists, even the security guards and the janitors — are our modern-day heroes. They make us long to rise again — to fete them, to celebrate their lives that they continue to put on the line. Even the police and soldiers on the road and checkpoints, the cashier in the grocery store and drug store and others who make the lockdown bearable, we give them salutation.

 We shall rise again, with a deeper appreciation of our family and friends. A day before the lockdown, I chose to be far away from my family. My mindset was I was already a carrier, being exposed to people I didn’t know in the city. So, that weekend before the lockdown, I went home. But only for two minutes. From the car, I waved at my 75-year-old mother in our terrace. She pleaded if I could get off the car. I obliged but with the condition that we would be meters apart from each other while wearing our surgical facemasks. It was the longest two minutes of hi and goodbye.  When I left Gulod, I cried in the car.

Friends are important. They help us rise from this experience. It’s the time we check, too, on our friends. Let the virus not put a dividing line between friends. We are entering the fourth week of the lockdown and it is extended up to the end of the month. Let’s check on our friends. Zoom with them or set up an FB Messenger call party.  Check, too, on your workmates. The virus has made real the concept of WFH but soon we will rise again to see our tables in the office. Work from home is fun but there’s a certain dignity that working in the office provides.  

We will rise again. And as we rise, we bring with us a better appreciation of ourselves.

I hope and pray soon, cars and buses will ply again the streets. The honking will resume. The kids will play again on the street in the barrio. They will chase the sun as it sets, hoping that they can cup it in their palms before it totally sets in the horizon. Hope floats.

We will rise again.

(For your new beginnings, please e-mail me at bumbaki@yahoo.com. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Happy Easter!)

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