Enjoying the ECQ
While there are those who see nothing but boredom in the Enhanced Community Quarantine, there are also people who regard it as nothing less than a blessing. In fact these blessed ones are thoroughly enjoying it.
Maisie, a super-active 40-something single businesswoman living a comfortable life, says: “At first I was annoyed, really so annoyed I was cursing Duterte—he robbed me of my freedom! The lockdown caught me in my house I’m repairing in Cavite. I thought, God, I;m stuck here, what would I do here? It was like living life under house arrest. I knew no one in the community; I couldn’t go to Manila to eat out, shop, visit friends—everything I liked doing I could not do anymore. Worse, I had business deals left hanging in the air, but my hands were tied, what will happen to them? But later on I felt lucky, indeed! Even blessed! Because my vegetable garden which I had entrusted to caretakers before was getting to be productive, and I had time to tend to it. I got so engrossed harvesting and posting photos of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, and melons on Facebook that I forgot about everything else I had missed. I was actually eating food from I’m growing with my own hands! God, why didn’t Covid-19 come sooner? I’m enjoying the ECQ!”
A recent Yahoo survey asked “Is Covid-19 and act of God?” got a majority NO answer (63%). The Martins—from the father to the youngest of three children, age 8—are convinced that it is an act of God. They replied Yes to the survey. “Not that God wants humanity to suffer,” says daddy Ferdie, “but really, were it not for the quarantine we wouldn’t have realized what we’re missing as a family. We’re now all present at the dining table eating food we help prepare; we watch TV and play board games together, and most importantly we now have time to talk and tell stories to one another. It’s like rediscovering your family, and everybody, especially the children, are happy that their parents have time off from work. We couldn’t have thought this was possible, but God made it so.”
Diana, a widow and a church volunteer, is grateful that what she couldn’t bring herself to do, the ECQ made her do. “I’m the type who wants to help all the time; I could not say no to requests from my parish, so much that I was called the Wonder Woman of our parish—there was nothing I could not do in the name of charity. Because of this quarantine I’m rather sad that my house is just two blocks from our church and yet I couldn’t even visit the Blessed Sacrament, but is there anything I can do? Yes, staying home forced me to confront the tasks I had been putting off for years at home: unloading my closets. I couldn’t believe I have accumulated so much junk all these years! Souvenirs from travels; photographs waiting to be sorted out and filed into albums; clothes, shoes and bags bought at bargain sales but never worn; white elephant appliances like a soft ice-cream maker used once and stashed away, forgotten; expired toiletries and medicines; wrapped Christmas gifts from 2015 that were not sent to recipients; etc. etc. etc. Seeing all these boxes of belongings suffocating my closets, I realized that I had been hoarding, which is a sin, a greed of some kind. I’m sorry, Lord. I am so thankful that under the ECQ I now have the time to put my house in order, so to speak. As they say, charity begins at home.”
The ECQ really is a purgatory of sorts. It ties our hands as it takes away the things we cling to. It forces us to take a good look at our unsatisfied cravings and where our appetites, our excesses, have led us to. And yet, like an abduction victim gagged and hog tied in a dark room in the middle of nowhere, a glimmer of gratitude happens—gratitude for the gift of life. The enemy is merciless but still hasn’t found us. Images of unnamed coffins, mass graves, and corpses rotting in the streets warn us; we could be one of those dying alone tomorrow, or the day after, or next week, who knows? And it’s not only us or our loved ones going through this—it’s the whole world. Activities are on hold—except those that sustain life. Thus we embrace this purging as we are given the grace to see and value what really matters in life. In spite of the inconveniences, I am enjoying the ECQ. In fact, I kinda wish it would be Extreme Community Quarantine. And that’s the truth.