Beautiful Sunday

Sunday morning, rain is falling, I sing along with the Maroon 5, as I look at the heavy downpour outside my window. I’m in a musical mood today and I belt out another song, “Beautiful Sunday.” Unlike Daniel Boone, however, I won’t take my regular walk in the park today.

“It’s Sunday again.”

“Time flies,” my wife says.

“I wonder why the days are getting shorter.”

I turn on the TV and watch the news. There were three separate deadly shootings in NYC last night. Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in many states and in some countries. There goes my musical mood out the window. I turn off the TV and browse through my phone. The same news and messages.

I prepare for the online service scheduled a couple of hours from now.

“Read Matthew 24 verses 21 and 22,” says my wife.

“What’s in Matthew 24?”

“Let the verse answer your question why the days are getting shorter.”

So I pick up my bedside Bible:

“For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.”

It is spot on and germane. Many are suffering due to this pandemic. Famine, terrorism, rumors of war all over the land notwithstanding, I take comfort in the passage that God wants these problems to end soon so that those who have been faithful to Him will be with Him soon. In other words, there is nothing to worry about -- if we are with Him. Delia is right. The days are getting shorter indeed.

I wax musical again, so I sing “Easy” by the Commodores. Then the thought of a couple of friends affected directly by this pandemic stops me. I think of a close family friend from Naga who went to visit her daughter in Peru several months ago. She was supposed to stay for a few days only, but she got caught by the sudden cancellation of flights. It’s been months now and she’s still in Peru. She told me that her flights have continually been cancelled. “Haluuuyun na ako digdi,” she messaged me.

My son almost experienced the same thing when he went to Bogota, Colombia, for a church mission last March. Little did he know that the flight he took back home via Miami was the last flight.

My godson Sam used to work in NYC. About two years ago he went back to Naga with his wife and two kids so he could finish his BSN there. Sam is a US Navy veteran who availed of his veterans educational benefit in the Philippines and graduated BSN last May. His wife came back to New York to file for their income taxes while the pandemic was just starting. As a result she got stranded in NY for several months. Sam messaged me a few days ago that he will be coming back to NY this coming week. God willing.

My travel plans to celebrate my wife’s retirement have been drastically altered. We were preparing to go home to the Philippines last February. We were also planning to return to the Holy Land, to re-visit the Shrine of Santa Ana in Quebec (a six-hour drive from here), to re-visit her Parish Church in Magarao (thousands of miles from here), and so on.

Meanwhile, Stay Home, Stay Safe is still the best policy for our times. We just have to make the best of the situation. There are many things to do at home: learn another language online, or better still, teach the kids the Bicol Language. I have started talking to my son in Bicol. My wife understands Bicol. I don’t know how she learned it but she joins in each time I speak with my Bicolano buddies on the phone, and oftentimes in person.

Another option: Learn to play a musical instrument, a harmonica, a guitar, a violin, a piano -- any. Take an online lesson in martial arts. You may not gain the same proficiency as Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, but it’s a good form of exercise, (although running away from a fight is still the best choice). And how about taking dancing lessons online? Dancing, with or without a partner, is always fun even if you’ll never be a Fred Astaire or a Gene Kelly.

I think again of Matthew 24 and pray for all our loved ones, for Naga, for the Philippines, for the world. It’s time to cook breakfast. I’m going to take it easy. Like the Commodores

Easy like Sunday morning.