I hope you are all doing well in the midst of this global panic. It's been a crazy couple of weeks here in Los Angeles, and my workplace is still trying to find a balance between being non-essential, providing for essential workers, and practicing safe measures.
It's been a while, and the last time I checked in mid February, I had mentioned how I was feeling quite down, and that the xenophobia caused by coronavirus was pretty apparent. Now, flashforward to March, the coronavirus has become a global issue, and it seems the whole world is shut down. Sure, to some, the virus doesn't seem as deadly as the flu percentage-wise, but the pace at which it spreads is really alarming. Not to mention the fact that so many people are extra-susceptible to this virus becoming fatal. Like the flu, sometimes, healthy people can end up dying; even if the chances of dying from the virus are slimmer, the chance of contracting it is so much higher! It honestly scares me to think about my grandparents in HK, my aunt and mom who have always been more frail-bodied, and my friends' kids and newborn babies.
To be honest, I wasn't really in an okay place last month, and it boiled over into this month. As I mentioned previously, I was trying to catch up on homework while trying to be a good steward to my workplace. It has been really tough, and by the end of February, I was living as a shell of a person - anxiety ridden and sleep deprived. I couldn't sleep well, because all I could think about was the homework I wasn't finished with, but was too tired to even think about focusing on. I would wake up with nosebleeds on a near-nightly basis, and toss and turn until my cats stopped sleeping in my bed. I was crying myself to sleep almost every day, and I couldn't control the emotions of uselessness, unworthiness, and sadness that overwhelmed my very being. Earlier this month, I applied to extend my quarter, because I realized there was just no way I could complete all my late assignments, and even if I did, the work was all late, and probably would not help my grades at all.
Looking back, God is sometimes just really funny and mysterious in the ways he provides. I know it sounds dark, but really, as I was recounting this during bible study, I couldn't help but laugh. Maybe it's because I have such a dark and insensitive sense of humor, but I digress. Since I was so sick back in Dec/Jan, I had some face masks left over from when my friend brought me some. And then, in my anxiety, I had really bad memory. I bought extras of toilet paper, because I couldn't remember whether or not I had ordered it. Also due to my anxiety, I had bought extra Clorox wipes, because cleaning was helping me relieve some of the stress. Yes, I was absolutely miserable when I was sick and stuck in bed, with aches all over my body, and an inability to control my vomiting. Anxiety also never feels great, especially when I finally broke down and had multiple panic attacks within a week. But God provides! What if I had run out of toilet paper during this time of toilet paper shortage? Or had run out of Clorox wipes (Mind you, having two little cats in a small space automatically requires a lot of cleaning)? It's in these little ways that looking back, there truly is a purpose to every little moment in life.
This lockdown has slowed things down a bit at work, and has also provided an extension at school, which truly feels like the whisper of God in raging the storm. I know that it's probably a horrible thing to say; I know many people are laid off, on furlough, or aren't getting paid to stay home. I am very fortunate to be on salary, and to be able to take a deep breath (in the confines of my home). I'm so fortunate to be in a place where despite the stress of coronavirus, money is not any more or less an issue as it was prior to this pandemic. I sincerely hope that everyone who is being affected by this issue can find peace in the circumstances.
It's a scary time, and it's okay for us to feel confused, unsure, and even just in a daze. For us Los Angeles-ians, things seemed to escalate at an alarming rate. One moment we were fine, and the next thing we know, we're told that neighboring states are going into a lockdown. And now we're all at home, trying to figure out fact from fiction, caution from paranoia. However, it's even more important for us now to reflect on our faith, our relationship with God, and our relationship with one another. It's been so encouraging that my friends have been helping each other out, offering food, and sharing supplies by leaving things on porches (because social distancing). This isn't something that we have to go through alone, and it's honestly nice to hear how the community is doing its best to protect citizens - government buildings being used to house the homeless, home evictions are being held, interest rates are being held off on, etc. While I've seen on Facebook that some government skeptics are calling out how this pandemic is showing what society can look like in the absence of greed, I'd rather see this as how society is, because underneath the hardness of capitalism, we have the capacity to love. This is what the Church is about. If you want to get super political, let's call it utopian socialism. But really, I believe it's more than that; the Holy Spirit guides us, and seeing the compassion and love that has been going around, I think this is a time where the Holy Spirit is working in a lot of people, even those who may not believe. After all, God is ever-present, even if we don't acknowledge Him.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, be persistent in prayer" - Romans 12:12