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Pandemic, awakenings, and the silver linings

By Darrel M. Ocampo, PhD

Life’s greatest lesson can only be learned through the most challenging times. Sometimes, the anvil of life hammers and hits us the hardest to forge our character. The test of fate gives us the most challenging experience of exploring the uncharted possibilities unknown to us. A pandemic is an unprecedented event that challenges humans and tests our characters. With its devastating effects, many lives had fallen, economic stability had been abased, many people became lost, and for a moment, time stopped, and the world ran out of breath. We were greatly challenged by this unforeseeable foe, a minuscule enemy that changed our definition of a normal life.

Yet amazing things happen during the times when we expect them the least. Amid our darkest times, we experienced awakenings that offered us a ray of hope. These silver linings helped us see the beauty of life in a new prism and appreciate it to the fullest. Despite the challenges and limitations of the pandemic, we can harbor genuine reasons to cherish our family, count our blessings, assess our nature as humans, reconnect ourselves to God, and value the essence of life.

The pandemic gives us the avenue to spend quality time with our family, to communicate the things we do not usually talk about, to share activities that we often take for granted, and to rebuild a much stronger bond that makes us a “family.” It also allows us to count our blessings, be thankful for what we have, and segregate the things of no value. It allows us to see the essentials, the valuable stuff, and separate those that are only fleeting. It gives us the realization that we will learn to appreciate the essential commodities that sustain our lives as humans within a momentary pause. It liberates us from the idea that luxuries, fads, and trendsetters are only material things whose value is too limited because it only gives what we want but not what we truly need. In the end, we learned that sometimes, simple things could be more than enough.

The situation also enables us to assess our nature as human beings. It reminds us that we do have our limitations as a person and that we should learn to acknowledge them. The pandemic tested our ability as humans, particularly those in the health sector. We witnessed the front liners’ struggles to fight the Covid, although they are affected by it too. Moreover, the experts battled to find a cure for this virus. Yet, it only showed that no matter how advanced our technology is, no one can defy nature. We were all caught unprepared, and deaths struck the highest toll before the vaccine was finally developed. Indeed, as humans, we have our limitations, and if we acknowledge them, we can humble our ways and rethink possible actions that benefit everyone.

We also witnessed the “Bayanihan” spirit, the connection which unites us as humans. As a person, we are bound by our everyday language, which is love. The pandemic let us realize that we are each other’s refuge and can survive and fight whatever debacles we are facing if we help each other and act as one. It further proves that regardless of our color, belief, or religion, our common language is love, which works to make us surpass the problem we face. The pandemic allows us to be human again and practice what it means to be humane.

Sometimes, when things get blurry and we find no answers from God, we usually doubt our faith and question His divine powers. However, this pandemic served as the bridge that connects our devotion to Him. In the most dragging moment of our lives, God never abandons us. He moves in mysterious ways, most often unseen yet felt. Perhaps, this pandemic is heaven’s twisted way of helping its herd find its path again. We might lose energy due to weariness, but we should never lose our faith and devotion to Him. As we traverse this dark journey of the pandemic, we should let God be our beacon to find our way and see the light.

Finally, while most of us take life for granted, the pandemic teaches us to re-evaluate the value of life. We are only given one chance to live, so we must use that opportunity to do good things for ourselves and others. We realize that life cannot be measured by our achievements; rather, it can be valued through the recognition and appreciation we get from helping others. After all, a man’s worth can best be retold by those around him. If we do good things for others, many people will remember our good deeds, giving us a sense of fulfillment that can add value to life’s meaning: to live and serve others.

As we move forward two or three years from now, the story of a pandemic might still sound horrifying to some, a memory that cannot be erased even with the passing of time. However, we should not forget that this event also served as a turning point for us to see life from a different perspective; it gave us indelible lessons that we will carry throughout life; offered us awakenings for us to realize our limitations and value as humans; and reminded us that in every dark cloud, there are always silver linings behind it.


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