By Karyl Dequito
No one has expected quite a plot twist in our century. American business magnate Bill Gates may have predicted it, but no one, not even fortune tellers, expected the harsh unfolding of reality. We were all forging our lives well, riding with the tides, and then one day every single one of us was sent home. Rich and poor people alike cowered in fear at the confines of our homes. The year 2020 was a sad story-mostly for the marginalized sector in society.
The country was still reeling from the onslaught of the Taal Volcano eruption. People lost their homes and livelihood. But we never got quite far when the COVID-19 pandemic lashed out at humanity. Our country’s economy is struggling on the surface. People lost their jobs; the national debt ballooned into trillions. And the cruel turn was when some of our loved ones figured in a battle we never knew how to fight.
It’s saddening to realize some people died without a fight. And until today, at the reckoning of another year, we are still trying to figure out how to win a battle with unseen enemies. We were tried with the worse, yet we are also prompted that something bigger is coming. Who do we run to for help?
For now, we have no one but ourselves and our faith. Our leaders are still clamoring on how to handle the shock. We, commoners, are still holed up by the corner making ends meet letting every day unfold. The first-world countries are already down to their second COVID-19 vaccine doses. We Filipinos are still waiting- arguing- over the what’s it and what not of the vaccine being our supposed last hope.
The new normal is heartbreaking. Yet, like any heartbreaks, we have no choice but to accept our fate, get used to it, and start taking small steps forward.
The first time I got out of the house after almost a year in seclusion, I was teary-eyed. All I saw were blank eyes, staring warily under the transparent face shields. People were- and still are- struggling to keep their distance from one another.
And all the confusion has left most of us inflicting hostility against authorities, against other people, and even against our loved ones. You see, when the government rolled out that people should stay at home, the majority of us stayed at home. But privileged people flocked into off-limit places, violating protocols, flaunting the iniquitousness within the social ladder. Sadly, people in violation are exactly the same person we expect to impose authority over stringent government protocols.
What hope do we have?
It’s in the little act of kindness and shimmer of humanity that we find our strength. We still trust that our leaders will pull us out of this situation, albeit with all the moot dispositions. We hope that the literal social distance we put between us will not severe the humanity within us. Let us not strip ourselves with the veneer of courage. There is still light beyond this tunnel./WDJ