Love in the time of corona

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    We’re certainly living in perilous times. We’re living in the cusp of natural disasters, and an impending pandemic.

    We’re teetering on the edge of panic and paranoia.

    We’re on the brink of rage and hopelessness as we watch the unbelievable ineptness of a system that seems intent on making us, Filipinos, extinct.

    What in the world happened to us? I feel like we’ve been thrown under the bus. Sold for a pittance. Fed to the wolves.

    Only the thought of God reigning sovereign over all this turmoil gives me hope, peace of mind. I’m certainly looking forward to the day when we will finally see His justice served. When those who caused this crisis, or contributed to people’s deaths, will finally be punished. While those who risked or lost their lives to save others will be generously rewarded.

    One of the hardest things to do during a crisis is to love the people around us. Danger makes us even more selfish because of our primal instinct for self-preservation. We call that survival of the fittest.

    That’s why love in a time of uncertainty and danger is love that is tested to its limits. This is the time when we must choose, first of all, to PRAY. Pray for God’s mercy and deliverance. Pray for His wisdom. Pray for everyone’s protection, and the healing of all who are sick. Pray that He will use this crisis to bring people to Him. And thank Him in advance for the way He will answer our prayers.

    We must make prayer our first course of action, not our last resort. And we must pray to the right person: Jesus Christ.

    Why depend on a human alternative first, no matter how scientifically or technologically advanced? Nothing is “more advanced” than the workings of God. Human wisdom is fatally flawed — and flaky.

    Love in a time of crisis means making responsible statements that tell the truth — not lies that give people a false sense of security. It doesn’t cover up or muddle issues just to manipulate people. It doesn’t delay crucial actions that can save lives. Love upholds the welfare of the majority. Protects their safety. Sacrifices personal agendas for the greater good.

    What idiocy to risk the lives of a whole country just to apply the algorithms of greed and self-annihilating politics. Even if one were to use twisted logic — who will be left to bully and bleed if people perish for lack of good governance?

    Love in a time of peril means we quit blaming and shaming others. Instead, we must fully focus our intellect and energy on thinking of, and implementing solutions.

    If you’re in a position of power, influence, and authority, then love means you must harness all your resources to do what is right, logical, efficient, and good for the welfare of your countrymen. And do it fast. Even if it means you’ll suffer loss.

    Every time you tell a lie, every time you cover up, every time you push your own agenda — to the detriment of the majority — you are also putting your own life, and the lives of your family, your loved ones, at stake.

    Tell me, what kind of fool would throw himself, and his own family, under the bus — for greed and political gain?

    Love in a time of crisis means that you won’t grab and hoard alcohol, masks, vitamins, medicines, and whatever else people need in this health emergency — just because you have the money or the connections.

    Love means you don’t make fun of, discriminate against, or alienate people who are somehow associated with the source of the crisis. Love means you become sensitive to their feelings — even if they’re abrasive or quick to take offense.

    Love means you don’t add to the general hysteria and confusion by spreading fake news, speculations, and bad advice that can mislead others.

    And to our government authorities, love means you must communicate clearly and concisely — using words that are simple, easy to understand. This is not the time to impress us with your bureaucratic jargon. You can dazzle us later, when the crisis is over.

    If your opinion doesn’t count, please keep quiet. We must hear from those whose expertise we need right now.

    When answering questions, please avoid long, tedious explanations. Go straight to the point. As much as possible, please speak in simple Filipino or Taglish — because most of us don’t understand English.

    I’m sure there are many, many more ways we can show love in the time of Corona. And one easy way of vetting our thoughts, motives, words, and actions is to ask ourselves:

    Would I say or do this to a person I love?

    Would I say or do this if it will harm a person I love?

    “How can I show God’s love in this situation?” For those of us with a hardened conscience, this could be the mother of all litmus tests.

    ***

    (With deep gratitude to Nobel prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez who wrote “Love in the Time of Cholera”. The title of this essay is a take off from title of his book.)