by Ma. Cecilia Panganiban Nagtalon
After the Lockdown: Braving New Paths
A Better Me After This Worst Time
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey”. This is one of my favorite quotations about life’s challenges written by Roy T. Bennett. We have lived our lives to the fullest then suddenly everything has stopped in just a snap. We move freely, hangout with friends, dining out with the family, travel as much as we can because for us this is the definition of life! It should always be fun. But then no one knew this will come. And no one is exempted from this pandemic. Same month last year our country was placed under a hard lockdown when even buying from a grocery store is a very hard thing to do. Permits and quarantine passes are very essential and we are not free anymore. We became prisoners and our houses serves as our jails. Businesses are starting to lose their game; unemployment rate increases and poverty rate became worst. No one imagined this will ever happen because we thought we are at our peak as technology is fast approaching us. But why is this had to happen? Is it because of some speculations that the virus is a man-made one? Or just simply we just let our guards down? Is it really the government’s fault due to lack of action? Or there is something wrong with us that we ourselves cannot be disciplined? Finding the answer to how it all began will be no help as of the moment. But being a better person of yourself will make a difference and will help each one of us to uplift each other in this very challenging time. Collective effort will always be for the win!
March of 2020 most of us suffered most especially in psychological aspect. Anxiety and depression attacked us because we are not just thinking for ourselves but also, we do care for the welfare of our families. Survival of the fittest became the game of everyone. Hospitals are on its full capacity; face masks are on lack supplies and we have no idea what step should we take to fight this challenge. Children were deprived to play outside even senior citizens cannot just simply walk outside to breathe fresh air. I still can remember how frightened are we every time we hear the ambulance coming to fetch a person under monitoring (PUM) as what they were called that time. There were nights that we cannot sleep because of overthinking, also days that we just have to cry to let our sadness be out. How can we surpass all of this? We can’t even watch television because we don’t want to hear the total number of cases each day. And yes 2020 is such a disaster to everyone. But we have to find ways on how to make some light during those trial times then TIKTOK came. Just a brief description of what TIKTOK is; according to tiktok.com it is a video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company Bytedance. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education that have a duration from fifteen (15) seconds up to one (1) minute. We joined the bandwagon and we became hooked to this mobile app. It somehow helps us to laugh again. But as time goes by and things are getting worse even this mobile app is not helping us to think of a way on how can we be at ease. Nothing will ever make us feel relieved in this very tough time except for one.
I was once an active Christian when I was, I think in my teenage years. I go to church not that regularly but somehow often. I call our God for help when situation will go out of my hands. I always pray begging for forgiveness and of course praising God for all that He is doing for my life. I was once like that. But then things have changed. I just feel that it is not the Lord who is responsible for everything that is happening to me but it’s because of my luck. I was so blinded that I believed I can do all things just by myself because life is in my hands. So, it came to a point that I questioned my belief. Is Jesus Christ real? Or is he like any other most of us have this kind of imaginary friend? Yes, I do get in this stage that I really doesn’t believe in him anymore. Why am I feeling that way? Even though I am not a believer yet I still have what I wanted in life and that makes me think that he is not real. How bad am I though? And this is the worst stage of my life. Being lost in faith and praising myself that I did everything very well.
Then this pandemic happened. I don’t know why and I don’t know how? I just became so fearful on so many things. Lockdown made me think and realize that I was wrong. I really can’t handle it without the help and guidance of our Almighty. The time spent with my family is so precious even we can’t hang outside and have some leisure. And seeing my family’s safe is not because of me but because of Him whom I once neglected. There was a time last year that I felt so low. I just cried until I can’t breathe anymore. I don’t know what to do then I saw in my son’s bedroom corner a small pocket size bible. And I just opened it and what I have read awakens me. It is the bible verse that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I felt the love of God that time. He made me realize that He’s always there for me and he never left me but it is I who forgot. It is not easy honestly to believe again but I tried. I prayed hard and read bible every night until such time that I didn’t even noticed that I am back to who I am before. A child of God who longed for him and wanted Him to be part of my life. That even if I am a sinner, He will always listen to my prayers and He will grant what I am asking in His right time. His love is so unconditional. And now that I am not blind anymore there is no place in my heart and mind to be so fearful because my regained faith is much stronger than any other worries that I might feel. And this is the best lesson I have learned during this pandemic that even after this pandemic I know my life will not be perfect but it will be better because I am guided by our Lord God. And what path I am taking now? Taking care of my third greatest blessing from God because I am currently on my 5th month pregnancy. I know and I feel that He has forgiven me because He gave what I have prayed for. And this will be for me the greatest path that I will take not only after this pandemic but for the rest of my life.
Lessons I have learned during this pandemic, yes, every one of us is having a hard time but don’t let this chaos affect our persona. If we are good before then we will be better and we really should be. Challenges and hardships may come along our way but we cannot face it alone. Guidance from the Almighty will help us overcome everything. Not always in the way we wanted but the way it was planned. This too shall pass. And I hope that each one of us had the time to make the realization that is good for us. One day we will all be cheering and praising God and all of us will shout for joy that WE SURVIVED!