by Cathy Gonzales
If we were in Big Brother, that reality show where participants stay inside the house for around three months, we would be in our fourth season by now.
At the beginning of the pandemic, my siblings and I decided that we would do everything to protect our parents who are seniors. By God’s grace, we have been able to work from home. My siblings go out once in a while when really necessary. But my parents and I have been the “finalists” – we haven’t gone out in 11 months.
It’s a different experience when you are together under one roof 24/7. While I can say that our family is close, during the pandemic there would be disagreements and shouting bouts even about the simplest of things. We saw each others’ idiosyncrasies since we are all just home. We would even lose our tempers, for something as simple as getting used to the new routine of sanitizing everything that comes in, like deliveries.
Despite this, we have had more chances to have meaningful conversations and bonding moments. My personal favorites are when we would take a break from work and have afternoon snacks and when we would watch a movie or series together.
During this time, we have worked as a team. We helped and looked out for each other more.
Our parents have been in charge of the kitchen while my sister, though tired from work, would make us sweet treats, painstakingly baking our cakes during special occasions.
When our washing machine broke down and we couldn’t risk anyone coming in at the height of COVID cases, my brother made an improvised washing machine and did our laundry manually for some time. He said he was happy to do it for us, as long as we were safe. But we knew it wasn’t easy.
These are just examples of those little heroic tasks that I saw them do for all of us.
For the past 11 months, we have also prayed more as a family. We made sure we didn’t miss participating in Sunday Holy Mass albeit online.
We attended retreats, recollections, and the Feast Conference virtually.
We pray the rosary every night, although this actually began when Nanay had a stroke in 2019.
My Tatay proudly remarked that he learned to lead the rosary at 72 years of age, as we began rotating prayer leaders.
For Holy Week 2020, we also prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. After that, we all agreed that we should pray it daily, too.
I would say that these prayer habits help us keep our peace. After all, it’s difficult to fight and not reconcile right away when we know that we will have to pray together.
A CHURCH AT HOME
While I think we can all agree that COVID has been a scourge and we all want it to end, we also know that God is making beautiful things out of this situation.
This particular season in our lives allowed us to stop and be with our family – to bond, serve, and pray together – a church at home.
And our mission as a family, like all other families, is to share this culture of love even beyond our home.
After all, we are all one big family with God as our Father.