I hope I don’t bring you down with my ramblings today. It is Sunday, after all, and it is supposed to be the fun and happy day of the week. Even as a little girl, I looked forward to Sundays. I loved it because I got to wear whatever new thing I had. It was always to church first and after that it was okay to wear it anywhere else.
For more than a week now I have been trying to rid myself of this bitter emptiness I feel, a sensation akin to intense hunger mixed with bile. There is no growling. It is just an ache in the pit of my stomach. And it won’t go away. It feels empty, but heavy.
I think that perhaps last Friday, when my heart broke, all the pieces sank into my stomach.
My friend in America called. No, he didn’t gloat, although the week before, he had told me about the way he was sure it would go. “Now don’t get all sappy and dramatic about the possible results,” he warned me. “The outcome has been there from way back when. It’s been a done deal for months. These hearings are just moro-moro.”
I hate it when he is right. But no, he didn’t mock. He is just as upset as I am.
I did not watch the proceedings in Congress. I didn’t have the stomach for it. I thought that it would be an endless Friday, what with the vacuous summations and the final count. I was surprised it was over so early. I was stunned. That it was done with such dispatch should have been a dead giveaway of the results. But I had hoped.
I must confess that when the verdict came down, I was angry. I wanted to arm a noise barrage of my own. But as it sank in, it was not really anger that rankled in my heart. It was deep disappointment, utter disgust at the pettiness of it all.
Someone wrote a stirring “review” of that afternoon. He compared it to a scene of slavering hyenas circling around a brave lion. What disturbed me the most was the sight of several of our once bright boys among the hyenas, grunting and rooting like hungry beasts of prey ready to pounce on their victim.
I must confess that not too many years ago, I was one of those who thought they would grow up to be leaders of a new breed, that they would lead the charge for the change we longed for. They seemed intelligent, principled, and I thought they radiated idealism and love of country. How wrong I was!
Instead, they are today’s predators, drunk with power, ready and willing to devour and destroy.
As they try in vain to justify and make excuses for their votes, all I can think of is a verse in the First Book of Samuel Chapter 16: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I hope that thought keeps them awake at night.
Back to COVID-19
Things are not going too well in my island paradise. I “talked story” with an old friend in Honolulu. Their numbers are climbing. She told of how a tourist arrived on Oahu last week, joined a yoga class and a week later, everyone tested positive for new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Now they are going crazy contact tracing.
Hawaii is still open to tourists who come in, probably hoping that the sun and surf will kill the virus. If it were true, how do you explain the surges in Texas, Arizona and Florida in the middle of summer? They should quit the aloha for now.
The situation in the United States is confusing. Despite the rhetoric and the alarming numbers in Los Angeles, there are no strict safeguards at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), except for a few perfunctory questions. We are better protected at Naia (Ninoy Aquino International Airport). I know a family that recently got back from being stuck in the US and they were swabbed upon arrival and required to quarantine 14 days in a hotel despite being local residents, all at their own expense.
By the way, is Naia still the name of our airport? Last I heard someone wanted to change it to Papapi (Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas). Was that just a joke? Just asking.
What do we tell the children?
During my quiet times, and I have many, I wonder how my grandchildren are handling this difficult situation. It must be quite a challenge to have their toddlers underfoot 24/7 with no relief of school time or play dates in sight. I am amazed at how they cope.
While they carefully follow all the quarantine restrictions, they manage to keep their toddlers home, most of the time indoors, amused, entertained and involved. Moms and dads have become teachers, trainers and storytellers. And on top of this, they work from home. They have to make a living.
What do they tell their children about this emerging new normal? How do they explain this strange time in history? Why can’t they go to school? Why is it not safe to hug? How do they warn them of the dangers without instilling fear in their hearts?
I was at my daughter’s the other day. We sat in her lovely garden amid orchids and jasmine in full bloom. It was breezy. Beautiful. Above us the sky was blue and we watched it turn all shades of spectacular pink and purple as the sun began to set. For that brief moment, all was right with the world. Thank you, Lord.