THESE are extraordinary times. No one could have known that a pandemic would envelope the world, except novelists and filmmakers out to sell their stuff. Of course, there were warnings by scientists and even Bill Gates who with his wife have been championing and funding causes against diseases that threaten humanity.
Among the terms that have found their way to mainstream media are Covid-19, social distancing, lockdown, self-isolation, community quarantine, border closure and state of disaster. The truth is that this global crisis is not just a challenge for world leaders, but to each and every individual. As we allow our leaders to take such measures they deem best for the population, we, as citizens, must toe the line, hoping that all will end well.
We have been asked to stay in our homes unless there is necessity to travel. We need to learn one lesson from the Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 50 million–100 million. In 1918, 200,000 people turned out in a parade of soldiers preparing for World War I in Philadelphia with organizers ignoring warnings that some of the soldiers may have been infected by influenza. Within a week from the parade, 4,500 died. Neighboring city, St Louis, on the other hand, opted to implement a community quarantine by closing, among others, schools, playgrounds and theaters. While there were 1,703 deaths; St Louis had the lowest death rate among major American cities.
Each one of us must be stressed, more so those who have been infected or whose loved ones have been separated as a result of measures adopted by governments. I am personally affected. My wife, Debbie, whom I asked to attend to family matters in Cebu, was supposed to return this week to New Zealand. But flight cancellations, lack of personnel in NAIA and the overwhelming number of stranded travelers have prevented her from departing.
Pope Francis over the weekend encouraged people to re-discover the joy of family while they’re confined to their homes. If only my wife was beside me in this time of crisis. Yet in solitude, there can be light. A few days ago, as I woke up, there was a prodding for me to write a song. The verses came so easily. In less than an hour, I had both the lyrics and music. I asked, “Where did this come from?” Below are the lyrics of “I’m with You.”
When times are rough/Trouble ain’t coming to a stop/You feel utterly hopeless/Listen, you can overcome these//You’re not alone/In the silence of dawn/You can call on me/Listen, I’ll keep you company//Refrain: I’m with you in this fight/As the shepherd cares for the lamb/I love you, I shall make things right/I am who I am//The sun shines bright/Witness the reign of the Light/Evil crown, leave and be gone/Listen, my will be done.