While in Lockdown

Our week was full before the weeklong Metro Manila-wide class suspension was announced. Knowing what the class suspension was really for, there was no other choice for me but to cancel all our projects for the week.

Just when I thought the suspension would only last for a week, the month-long community quarantine for Metro Manila was announced a few days later.

I’m sure you too had plans for that week and the succeeding weeks, but the fast spread of this virus pushed all of us to retreat in our homes instead. Schedules had to be redrafted. Meetings and events had to be postponed. Much to the discomfort of many of us, the world is suddenly at a standstill.

We’re now on our second week of quarantine. We can only go as far as the premises of our homes permit, but a little appreciation and gratitude everyday can go a long, long way.

Being with my family 24/7 for two weeks now is something I really treasure. I used to have mornings where I’ll rush out the door to avoid traffic on the way to a project. Now, my family and I have all the time in the world to bond, do home works and prepare school requirements, eat together in our dining table thrice a day, and enjoy the view that our windows generously provide. The little activities that make up our everyday at home are things I commit to my core memory, since we don’t have this much time when my husband and I are at work and our kids are at school.

This is why my heart goes out to the frontliners and their families. I cannot imagine how difficult these past weeks must have been for them, taking care of patients while being away from their families. I really admire all of them for they stand brave and true to their sworn professions everyday, even if it means that their lives are at risk.

I also appreciate the people who are stepping up to help the frontliners and daily income earners even if they too have limited resources and movement. Small businesses offer free food, delivery guys wait longer in line due to distancing and other protocols, small groups organize donation drives, fashion designers sew protective gears, and households refuse relief goods from the local government so others can benefit from it – it is an incredible time where people do not wish to buy anything; many of us search our own homes for something to give instead.  

It seemed at first that we won’t have anything productive to do when we were all asked to stay at home. In truth, it is our best contribution. This situation makes us realize how the things we thought are making us happy are not real sources of happiness. Since malls and shops are closed, we now know that we can live without spending our time and money there.

Also, we understand how important it is that we mindfully use our things, down to our most taken for granted resources. We may be used to pulling too much tissue on our bathroom trips, but knowing that the resource may be scarce due to the closing of factories, we will thriftily use what we have instead. This also goes to the other resources we have at home.

When we go to the grocery stores, I hope we realize more than ever that we need to live within our means, that we don’t have to buy the entire grocery for us to survive. On the contrary, the limits set for us, such as buying two at most for a particular item, should teach us that in order for us to live a healthy life, we must learn how to share and give.

I’m also happy to note that many huge companies and big stars have shared their resources and talents. How many times have we seen a free online concert recently? How many resources have we accessed without the hosts asking you for fees? We thought we were cut out from the rest of the world when we locked ourselves inside our houses. Ironically, we all became very much connected.

We now have so much time in our hands to catch up and reconnect with friends, and we must do it, for not everyone is doing well in this situation. They might need something for the day and you might be the answer to their day’s prayer.

Thankfully, while we continuously pray for this virus to stop spreading and for less individuals and families to be affected, God is answering our long-time prayer we may have pushed at the back of our minds…

Photos and videos online show us cleaner air, clearer waters, noiseless streets, traffic-free highways, along with kinder neighborhood. These are problems that we thought won’t have any more solutions. We may be in the middle of something serious, but just like how the earth is breathing, this pandemic asks us to keep in mind that there is time intended for healing.

I can’t wait to go out and enjoy the gift of a better environment we have. In the meantime, let’s all stay home, follow precautionary measures, and find meaning in this situation we are currently in.

Lastly, I hope we clean our thoughts and intentions as much as we clean and wash our hands. I pray that we continue to be better stewards of things entrusted to us – our families, our homes, our community, our planet… and even the people we don’t know by name. May we come out better people after all this is over.

Hang in there, Neatropolis! This too shall pass.