Thriving Amid A Pandemic

By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the worst things I have ever seen and experienced in my 34 years of existence. I have survived a lot of typhoons and earthquakes, sicknesses and heartaches. But seeing economies crash and millions of people getting laid off, witnessing thousands of families lose precious members and hearing the news of thousands of people getting sick with the virus day by day in all parts of the world is just too much to handle. Sickness and death are lurking around the corner to devour that it brings so much fear. This pandemic is a nightmare we are all stuck in and we want to wake up from, fast and soon.

I have seen how the coronavirus ravages the lives of the people I know personally. Just the other day, I was crying with a friend on the phone because his husband has been diagnosed with severe COVID. She is also in quarantine and their two young children are with their grandparents. I have several friends who have also contracted the disease and the only thing they did was go to the supermarket. I have a lot of friends who have lost their jobs, forced to take leaves and some have their businesses hanging in the balance. But despite the crushing and tossing of the COVID waves, the human spirit triumphs. Instead of wallowing in fear and self-pity, I have witnessed how many have risen to the challenge. People have grabbed opportunities that otherwise they have never done had this crisis never happened.

In the middle of the pandemic, my sister-in-law started a chicken wing business that she sells online. My brother started to cook different things–pasta, sushi, burger, chicken and sell them online to provide for his family because he lost his job. A friend of mine sells sanitizers, pajamas, and homeschooling materials on top of her fulltime online job as a researcher just to have extra funds since the projects of his husband, an architect, have been halted. I’ve seen many of my friends find ways to make up for what this nasty virus has stolen. As for me, I started a buy and sell business on luxury bags and started educating myself about stocks, REITS and property investment while we are stuck at home.

Another opportunity that arose in the midst of this crisis is the opportunity for generosity. I am always amazed at how tough seasons like this bring forth the best in us. I have seen how compassionate and generous people can become when we only have each other to rely on. We have all lost something but it doesn’t stop us from sharing with others what we can give. The alumni of the University of the Philippines in Diliman started an initiative to support the jeepney drivers that bring students to and from the university. I have seen friends donate whatever amount they can to help those who are struggling financially. Mommy friends sell stuff, not just to add income to their family but also to help other families. What a joy to see people working together cope and survive this difficult time.

Truly, just as Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies a great opportunity.” The COVID-19 worldwide crisis may have been one of the most terrible seasons of our lives but it has brought about great opportunities not just to survive, but also to thrive.

The pandemic has pushed us to our limits. It has taken away so many things from usour livelihood, our freedom to go anywhere and anytime, our proximity with other people, our normal lives. It has destroyed so many plans, shattered dreams, broken hearts, and crushed souls. It may have stolen so many things that matter to us but it has not taken away our ingenuity, our creativity and resourcefulness, our compassion and generosity, our hope and our faith. The human race had been through tough seasons one after another, generations have faced pandemics and worldwide crises such as this, but one thing I do know- we survive and we conquer. Yes, we are wounded, but we are still fighting to continue living.

The battle is far from over, but we have already won the battle. It’s just a matter of time. Keep thriving!

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