How have the Quarantine and isolation affected you?

Sr. Perpetua Agu, OP

One of the devastating effects of the Corona virus pandemic is the undesired isolation and compulsory quarantine experience it brought on the whole world; especially the victims of the deadly virus. Why this experience is so bad is that it has hindered mutual friendship among people which is one of the beautiful social phenomena of life. Everybody longs to love and be loved as it is a fragrance of true friendship. But when this friendship is lacking, it gives a painful feeling and creates wide gap between people physically or emotionally.

First, I felt the quarantine or isolation so badly because it has the capacity to inflict psychological torture on persons who suffer isolation. It surely gives a feeling of rejection, abandonment, and makes the victims feel unclean to be associated with. For me personally, the experience was not so different. I felt starved of community life and sharing because of how I was caught up in a place away from my community and had to remain there till when the global lockdown was over. I felt so uneasy because of my inability to be united with the community. It was as if I tested positive to the virus. I felt quarantined or isolated.

However, the time of the lockdown was not fruitless because I engaged myself with prayerful reflection and intensive reading and writing, so as not to get bored. Nevertheless, I felt an inner dryness as a result of absence of community living, and really longed to be with the community once more. Using my own experience, I imagined the pain of the real victims of the pandemic who had to die eventually in different isolation centers. They died without any opportunity of seeing their family and friends. And even with no privilege of being buried by their loved ones. What a painful experience.

 The effect of the isolation and quarantine made me to resolve more readily to live one day at a time, make peace with everyone and try to make positive impact in those who will encounter me. I reflected on the words of the book of Ecclesiastes; “vanity upon vanity all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:1).  I could not imagine myself doing without things I had perceived as basic needs. For instance, being without food or money as a student away from community was a big challenge during the isolation experience. Not having freedom of movement to find solution to this challenge was an additional problem.

 However, I survived the situation without having any body to blame as would have been the case if it were in a community setting.  Hence, I have come to a conclusion that with little more understanding and patience in the community, one can easily let go of certain things or ideas that we ordinarily hold on to rigidly.

The year 2020 is indeed a year to always remember. It is a year that has made a remarkable impression globally by writing its name on the sands of this present generation. Not because of any other thing so special but because of the devastating occurrence of a disease that is hitherto beyond man’s imagination.  Although the origin of the Corona Virus pandemic has been purportedly traced to China since late year 2019, the full impact of it is felt in the year 2020.  And while the cure for it remains a guess work, it calls for a deeper reflection.

First, in my prayer and reflection, there is a conviction that God allowed this pandemic for a purpose regardless of its negative impact on the world and humanity. It seems humanity has so much advanced in science and technology that God seems no more important or needed. It is clear how man has become so comfortable without God and relying sorely on his discoveries and innovations. He forgets that God is still God and that He (God) remains most powerful and most knowledgeable (Ps. 147:5). God is still the maker of heaven and earth and, nothing is impossible for Him to do (Jer.32:17). In Him alone is the source and summit of all wisdom (Rm.11:33).

In the midst of the confusion and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought, it becomes more obvious to me that no matter the science and technology, man’s ingenuity is still limited. Yes, it is believed that China created the problem, but why were they (and indeed the world) unable to invent a lasting cure for it? Since the trend that humanity has taken or is gradually taking the place of God, I feel strongly as a Dominican called to contemplate the Truth, that there is a need to create an awareness and sense of caution that humanity may once more realize that God’s presence still endures(Ps. 139:7-12), and that by no human power shall any man prevail.

During the pandemic, I rediscovered God as that Mighty Man that makes Himself known and felt in most subtle ways. As a father, He knows how to call us back when we wander so far away from Him. Like the prodigal son, the whole world came back to its senses in acknowledgment of the limitedness of human intelligence. We all sought the face of God in prayer when trust in man’s ingenuity failed. I am therefore convinced that there is a new clarion call to put God first in everything we do, seek Him in all situations of life, and indeed see every challenge in life as an opportunity to praise, bless and preach the message which God intends to convey in such situation.

Finally, as Christians, we believe that everything happens for good to those who love God (Rm.8:28). Personally, the Corona Virus pandemic remains a mystery that no man can unravel. Reflecting on the pandemic, my experience of God and understanding of His presence have been enriched, widened and improved positively.

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