The following was forwarded to me, and instead of trashing it because of its title and its unknown origin (although its references are mostly Christian), I gave it a chance—and I am thankful I did. It’s not as offensive as its “cover” made it seem. So I urge you to read before you judge. Here goes:
Since this pandemic first burst out of Wuhan, the world has been increasingly abuzz trying to demystify it with the primary concern of staying untouched by it. The lockdown has forced us indoors and wired 24/7, forwarding both facts and fake news, coping advice, quirky inputs from irrepressible YouTubers, and of course, chain prayer requests. Self-serving prayers have turned PRAY into another four-letter word. Well, here’s a real four-letter word that doesn’t care a hoot about sounding clean: SHIT, an acronym for four Be-attitudes.
Be Sober: For goodness sake, be still! Don’t panic and hoard. It’s not the end of the world, and even if you die next week, you cannot take all that toilet paper and corned beef to the grave. So what if you run out of rice? Eat boiled kamote and vegetables even if you hate them, because you know they are way healthier than your favorite junk food and can boost your immune system. Obey health rules, get some sun, exercise. Even those who live in hovels or under the bridge can walk in place. Stop being obsessed with survival; you could also catch the virus at a supermarket queue. Be a sensible and sobering influence in your community. Remember panic and paranoia can also kill. Replace internet time with meaningful conversations with family members. “Bonding” is a big word today; might as well be, for no one knows when one could get infected and die. Take advantage of the quarantine period to organize your neglected tasks. Whether you’re sick or not, do your family a favour and write your (Last) Will and Testament; that should take away a lot of headaches from your family in case COVID claims you suddenly.
Be Humble: Especially when praying, humility is the best stance. In late February a “prayer” went around in social media asking to be forwarded. “At 9:00pm TONIGHT…everyone is asked to please join for THREE MINUTES to pray for transformation of the Corona virus situation in the world. Visualize and ask for healing anointing and energy like rain to fall and soak every inch of land in the world. All flu virus, coronavirus and pneumonia-like illness supernaturally die out by itself, evaporated and extinguished from the world. No more report of new cases —visualize the feeling of relief and smiles amongst the medical people and the public to shout out with victory on their faces, saying thank You God for Your love, grace and mercy that everything will begin to be back to normal.” I received that “prayer” from Christians and devout Catholics; what a shame. Not to put down visualization techniques, per se, but this “prayer” is simply presumptuous and takes too much for granted. “Back to normal”? What was normal before COVID? Greed among world powers? Ignorance among the poor? Complacency of the elite? Indifference of the middle class? Prayer is not magic. Be humble! Prayer is standing naked before God, acknowledging our nothingness, humbly obeying His word and disposing ourselves to embrace His will. It is not “I will focus on a vision and you will give me the perfect world I want, God, thank you.”
Be Introspective: Isn’t it ironic that the quarantine period for our country began in Lent? “Quarantine” comes from the Latin “quadraginta”and the Italian “quaranta”, both meaning ”40”. Lent commemorates Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness, and is a period supposedly devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence. Paging forgetful Christians! How lucky can you be, followers of Christ? That even in a raging pandemic, you are helped? Lent asks that you stay away from parties and overeating, late nights and a lot of smooching, the very things COVID is warning us against. Imagine your disappointment if the quarantine fell on the season you call Christmas! Lent to a growing number of you has been reduced to local tourism, holidays out of town during the Holy Week, my eye! Perhaps COVID’s quarantine is heaven sent after all. As a recent poster says, “If you can’t go outside, go inside.” Be introspective. Go into your thoughts, your fears. Reflect on your core values. Examine your world view. In all probability, before COVID, your world never went farther than your horizon cemented by your desires, your possessions, your loved ones, your dreams, your plans, your prayers for your comfort and safety. Is that world all that you were born to love?
Be Truthful: Now you see the deadly corona is no respecter of persons. Prince and pauper are equal in COVID’s eyes. Age, race, social standing, these things matter not to a killer virus. Even healers cannot heal themselves by simply willing it. You realize the pandemic could take you or anyone else anytime, but how ready are you? Be truthful. Behind your bravest words, you are afraid. You are not ready, but truth stares you in the face that your life is not in your hands. Your life was given to you as a gift; how did you live it? Who was in control? Did you thank the Giver and give glory to Him by living it His way? Instead of obsessing yourself with staying alive, now, in Lent, aspire to hand over the reins of your life to the Creator. Count the many times you’ve said “Why are people hurting me when I’ve done nothing wrong?” Stop lying to yourself. Admit that you need forgiveness, and to forgive as well. For once, accept the truth that without God, you are nothing. Your trophies, your honorifics and the titles tailing your name, your victories, your amorous conquests, your Facebook friends—none of these can add a minute to your life when your time has come. The truth is, all that is yours to control now is the turn you want your life to take should you survive the pandemic. Meanwhile, you can’t die from being kind and learning to love as God loves.