Random Harvest in the Time of Lockdown

It is almost Sunday, but the houses of worship will still be empty. If this is going to be the “new normal,” it can’t be helped. Nor does it import, given the precarious situation we are still in. Besides, the real place of worship is within, lockdown or no lockdown. And I can always access it by prayer and meditation.

Meanwhile, the hours fly by. Hardly have I finished breakfast when it’s time to call my younger brother Max. I instruct him to donate a portion of my savings to an organization in the barrios of my hometown in the Philippines who is giving food to the needy affected by this pandemic. I also instruct him to transfer money to another relative in dire need.

By noontime my son calls me and my wife to pray our midday devotional prayer. He insists we do this together.

Lunch over, and it is time to warm up the car. I have nowhere to go but I still have to do this so that my battery does not discharge in case I need the car during an emergency. My trusty old car.

I spend the rest of the day watching the news. To take my mind off the heavy negative broadcasts, I press the remote button to old favorites like Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show, and MASH. By the time I glance at the overhead clock, it is time to cook dinner.

Like I said, prayer and meditation give me that strength I need so badly these days. Indeed they are essential as food is to the body. When we find ourselves at the end of the tether, we really need to look within.

My thoughts move to my 1 ½ year old grandnephew Noah. My wife and I won’t be babysitting him for a while. His parents Rena and Nol are both frontline nurses at Bellevue, a Covid 19 hospital in Manhattan. As seniors, my wife and I belong to the most vulnerable sector. Nevertheless, I am concerned about the safety of Rena and Nol, especially after Rena’s 63-year-old Filipino nurse supervisor just succumbed fatally to the virus. He was about to retire, but was asked by the hospital management to extend his services.

I think about another niece, Maribeth, a nurse at JFK Hospital in South Jersey, and her brother Conrad, a medical transporter in the same hospital.

My wife’s niece Anne, a soft spoken, gentle, born-again Christian nurse at a Westchester, NY Hospital comes to mind. I was taken aback when she narrated to us how she cared for her patients. Notwithstanding their extreme precaution, 50% in her hospital tested positive. How to comfort the patients is always priority to her.

Because her face is partially covered by a face mask, she makes sure that her patients see the smile in her eyes when she talks to them. Psalm 23 always stands them in good stead.

I pray for my former dormmates in college who recently passed away from the virus: Dave and Art and Dindo--dear friends all. I pray for a wonderful woman, Daging, the wife of another former dormmate Brick. May the Good Lord bless and keep them all in His Loving Arms.

The sound of sirens interrupt my meditation.

I did not hear many sirens today. A good sign?

My pet cat Kitkat jumps up onto my computer table and sits on top of my printer. Kitkat reminds me about the news regarding animal shelters in New York. They are empty now that many people want to adopt pets for company during the lockdown. A positive thing.

Speaking of animals, I hear more birds chirping than cars honking in Manhattan. Another positive thing?

My meditation ends. Time for my final ritual of the day: reading a few verses from the Bible before bed.

It is late in the night, but my wife is still watching a sci-fi K-Drama. I am intrigued by what keeps her glued to the TV this late.

The plot is about a certain emperor named Lee Gon of the Kingdom of Corea, who tries to cross the barrier into a parallel universe where the Republic of Korea now exists. Here he meets a certain detective named Jung, and this series is about their adventures, as they flit back and forth into the two parallel universes.

I ponder on the possibilities of time travel and of multiverses, but sleep overwhelms my thoughts and gradually rises in my brain.