by Clyde Ericson H. Nolasco
I am a COVID survivor!
As of this writing, according to Johns Hopkins University, there are now over 152 million COVID cases globally. Over a million of these cases are from the Philippines. To be exact, there are already 1,061,225 cases and 17,525 recorded deaths in our country.
As a COVID survivor himself, Jules Guiang, a media personality, encourages survivors to share their story as we are not mere numbers. So here I am doing my part, sharing my story and the essential things I have appreciated more while I was positive with COVID and in quarantine.
On the Feast of the Annunciation to Mary, March 25, while the Church, especially the Archdiocese of Manila, celebrated the good news of the Vatican’s appointment of Cardinal Jose Advincula as the new Archbishop of Manila, our family also received the bad news that there was a COVID outbreak here at home.
A week before this happened, I was already anxious because I had been receiving news and messages that there were people I personally knew and co-workers who had tested positive. I was afraid it was getting closer and closer to hitting home. Alas, that weekend my brother tested positive. And after five days, my sister and I also tested positive with the virus sparing only my parents. It was three out of five. It was an outbreak.
Thankfully, our cases were mild so we opted for home quarantine. My parents, who are both vulnerable, were the ones who went to another place to isolate. We spent the next weeks monitoring our symptoms and recuperating.
It was a retreat for me. I am a productive person who, most of the time, tends to be a workaholic. I have personal deadlines aside from the deadlines I need to comply with for work, graduate studies and Dominus Est. At that very moment, I had students to teach, grad school papers to finish, and catechetical videos I needed to produce and upload.
I have goals and tasks each day. That's why when this started, my plans came crashing down on me. I was literally dumbfounded.
I stopped for a while and tried to absorb what was happening. Eventually, I was relieved from teaching my online classes and excused from attending my grad school.
It became an opportunity for me to slow down.
I was invited to step back and let God manage my time for the next few weeks.
Being quarantined during Holy Week, I felt like I was carrying my own cross, waiting to be crucified and hoping to resurrect soonest.
QUARANTINE | Pre-pandemic, we would spend our time together eating out, watching movies or destressing somewhere. In an unfortunate turn of events, we spent some weeks in quarantine.
Let me share with you the two essential things I truly appreciated while I was waiting for my own Easter.
Believing is essential
I had been following the news on COVID even before it reached our islands so I was updated with the possibilities. This pandemic made me more in awe of Science and the human mind’s capacity to absorb and understand nature.
Sadly, people deny the existence of God once Science steps in. Faith is neglected.
However, during this health crisis, faith has proven to be essential to our survival.
Over and above drinking medicines, eating healthy food and fruits, many told us to not worry and have faith that it would soon end. People would send us encouraging words that soon, dawn would come.
So along with the medicines, it also takes faith in one’s self and in God to survive this virus.
Pope John Paul II, from Fides et Ratio mentioned, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”
With complete rest and belief in God who heals the sick, one can get back on his feet in no time.
Praying is essential
I had always prayed to not be infected by the virus. We were also mindful of all the health protocols, even executing our localized version here at home.
Yet I was not immune.
But being positive did not convince me, not even in the slightest, to doubt the power of prayers.
When it was time for the whole family to be tested, my only longing was for my parents to turn out negative. Considering their age and their medical history, I was afraid it might be difficult for them to overcome the situation. I stormed the heavens with prayers for favorable results. When the results came out, though my sister and I tested positive, there was a sigh of relief when my parents tested negative. I thanked God for that.
All the more, I strongly believe that we got healed because we were prayed for. “Quarantining” was less worrisome, knowing that there were people praying for us. Being assured that we were prayed for was as if God was whispering to us: “Do not worry about your life.” (Matthew 6:25).
MY STORY | Last April 23, I shared our story in Veritas' Hello, Father of Fr. Jason Laguerta and Msgr. Bong Lo along with Ms. Arlene Paler who is also a COVID survivor.
OUT OF THE WOODS
Easter came to our home three weeks late. The three of us tested negative after 25 days of quarantine, proving that we are undoubtedly out of the woods already.
Our story may not be the same with others’ stories. Our version may be simpler than others’, perhaps less exhausting.
But I believe that each COVID story is an invitation to believe in the healing power of God.
Remember the healing power of faith, even faith as small as a mustard seed … and to pray unceasingly with hearts full of hope.
After all, we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!