Locked Down or Up?

Locked Down or Up?

COVID-19 has left and continues to leave a vicious trail that has left everyone anxious, distressed and many dead. For the first time, the world has come against something that has effectively humbled man’s overdependence on technology, economic wealth and power, production and transportation and even political systems boasting to provide for every person’s basic needs.

Without a vaccine at sight, the best possible measure against the virus was to lock down entire cities and countries. This, we hope, would somehow stem the virus or as experts redundantly repeat: flatten the curve of infections. Despite this, we are not free from the anxiety of a possible surge of infections once people become complacent after the quarantine.

Meanwhile our quarantined lifestyle, which continues to take a heavy toll on businesses, disrupt educational and cultural institutions, postpone celebrations and other social events, etc., has also led us to discover and rediscover many valuable realities. Families and individuals, for example, living together in confinement have become aware of many things that perhaps, their fast-paced professional life, digital and social-media addiction, and intense week-end social lifestyle have masked.

News abound –both in print and digital media– how families are rediscovering and treasuring bonding moments, sharing chores, simplifying elaborate celebrations but cherishing them more, and once-forgotten family traditions come to the light even when there continue to exists the usual family tensions, arguments and trials. But being together in a crisis like COVID, has challenge each one to bring out the genuine gift of presence, patience, sacrifice, forgiveness and joy!

Families unceasingly come up with countless creative confinement activities that are making the most out of the lockdown. These continuing months of quarantine will indeed be something we will turn to, and see how God in His mysterious providence is able to bring more good out of the evil of COVID-19. Thus, it is next to impossible to describe or upload all the good each one is reaping and will forever carry as a legacy of these trying times of the pandemic.

As I read or watch the many wonderful family activities being shared through Viber and other social media platforms, I realized that they seem to converge in the following areas: sorting, scrolling, surprising, composing and celebrating. Here is how they are applied.

  1. a)    Sorting comes with the time that people now have at hand. They sort out the house, old stuff, clutter here and there, etc. There are even those, with a more practical mind, who start sorting out their life and asking themselves what they have to change or improve. And if they do make it out of this ordeal or not, what will they leave behind.
  2. b)    Scrolling often happens in our smartphones and computers. Now we are more mindful about what we see as we scroll up or down. Perhaps, it occurs to them to ask if that particular person in his contacts lists is doing well and what if I send him a message or a call? But scrolling also is applied to the very people they live with, as we also become more discerning of their needs –a chat, a smile, a hand or a glass of water– which perhaps we have taken for granted in more normal settings.
  3. c)    Surprising moments arise when some member surprises another. The element of surprise never fails to brighten up family life, but even more now when anxiety permeates our homes. Surprise is demonstrated by chores, games, some song or dance number, a hug from behind and an inspiring complement for the food or work well done.
  4. d)    Composing refers to how our confinement leads us to compose ourselves better in work, family gatherings and rest. There are still unavoidable tensions, but physical restrictions give us no alternative but to face issues and resolve them as best as we can. It also means literally composing emails or handwritten letters –how we miss these ones!– to our loved ones when we don’t know how to best express our apology, gratitude and love to them.
  5. e)    Celebrating is no longer confined to birthdays and anniversaries during confinement. The family learns that every precious moment spent together is a grace from God to be shared with one another! Thus, every passing day is one to give thanks for and celebrate in the most ordinary but grace-filled way!

As we continue to journey in this ordeal together, being locked down seems to have given us more upsides that will surely forge deeper love and self-giving in our families.