The quarantine chronicles: Week 22

Published August 21, 2020, 2:36 PM

by Alex M. Eduque


Alex Eduque
Alex Eduque

Here we are at the end of our 21st in quarantine, and at the tail end of the second week of the re-imposed Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to heed the cry of health workers and other frontliners. I would say that the re-imposition of MECQ was met with a mixture of emotions. It was quite a week of Covid coaster – otherwise known as a roller coaster of emotions brought about by COVID related anxiety and uncertainty. People were high strung in emotion, on edge, and quite a lot were overcome with anxiety. To an extent, the feel of that Monday – the one day the government gave us all to adjust – brought me back to the first few days of March when we had just been put on lockdown. The rampant forwarding of texts, the fake news being circulated everywhere, people being overcome by their fears and emotions. You would think that 21 weeks later, we would have gotten the drift of it. But, I suppose, moments like that are a reminder to us that despite how strong and resilient we are, we are also just human. We are vulnerable, but yet, we overcome.

Over and over again, we all concur that we live in strange times. We were thrown into a pandemic that none of us anticipated, and that we all were equally unprepared for. The past few months have been all about rolling with the punches, adjusting to re-adjust, and then adjusting again. It has been about learning to be flexible at a time so unpredictable and uncertain. The past few months have been about finding joys in the simplest of things. It has been an everyday lesson on stress management and staying sane. On filtering out useful information, instilling new protocols and ramping up hygiene practices. A lot of us have pondered endlessly on what the new normal is and means, and if it is really here to stay. And then there is that bunch of us trying to figure out how to go about maneuvering in what seems to be a whole new world. Whatever the case may be, life has been quite the balancing act, so to speak.

Fear has faced us so many times these past few months. Regardless of how strong one’s faith may be, fear will always find a way to creep in because that is life, and that is the struggle of needing faith to prevail through prayer in a world where there is both good and evil. But being fearless (and with the type of fear we face these days), I have come to realize, is not necessarily about needing to get rid of fear per se, nor is it particularly about facing fear in the face. Sometimes, it is about learning to live with that fear, and to an extent, even integrating it in your everyday life until it is overcome, and no longer a trigger. It is about being brave and bold enough to identify that stimulus, acknowledge it as a weakness, and managing oneself not necessarily to work directly against it, but to work with it. Being fearless these days is no longer as much about being relentless as it is about being courageous enough to admit weakness and addressing it. It is about learning to shut out that voice of negative thoughts, anxiety, and “what ifs” in your head because you know the master of your faith is greater than all of it. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

Being vulnerable does not mean that you are weak. It simply means that you are human enough to listen to your emotions, and sometimes, allowing yourself to let go of certain inhibitions. The strength in vulnerability therefore lies in the fact that you are rational enough as well to make informed versus purely emotionally driven decisions. It is about being able to discern wisely versus judging on the get-go. At a time when planning is oftentimes foregone because of all the uncertainty in our midst, it is about being purposeful with the present, and having enough faith and optimism to go ahead with plans still, believing that those plans too shall see fruition.

What matters most at this point in our lives is knowing our priorities and placing a premium on those who and that matter most. In taking that small step, and focusing on needs versus wants, by simply channeling ones’ energy towards a certain direction and eradicating that which is unnecessary and has no bearing on what tomorrow may bring for you, you are unknowingly mitigating the fear of the unknown. Surround yourself – physically and emotionally —with good energy. The kind that brings you up and places a premium on your sanity. Life is already too complex to live it in a complicated way, most especially in these times. It is about knowing who and what matters. Simplify, surrender to faith, and seek the silver lining in all that you do and comes your way. Leave the rest to faith and it shall follow.