Wenceslao: Writing, attending masses

·3 min read

My wife’s question struck me as a bit surprising. “Wa na ka magsuwat og column?” The surprising part was that she was actually monitoring my work. Of course, the past days have been a struggle for me, and my writing was among those that got hit. I almost forgot that writing saw me through my lowest of lows. I once described it as a “crutch” until it became mere routine.

I also went to mass yesterday and was reminded of a promise I made years ago when I survived an ordeal: that from then on I would be attending Sunday masses. It was because of the fulfilment of that promise that I got familiar with the St. Therese church in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Before the pandemic struck, Sunday mass was a family event. The past weeks I have been content with allowing my wife to go to church on her own. Staying home became a practice.

I have been under treatment for “severe anxiety” that I would say was partly caused by the circumstances I was in. Staying home was voluntary on my part because I wanted to protect my family from Covid-19. But I don’t know how much it has affected a psyche that was scarred by past struggles. But with only our youngest son as the unvaccinated in the family, I may have to start changing that setup. The fears and the worries could just be the result of my being cooped up at home.

My hope is that with more and more people getting vaccinated, the push towards a return to normalcy will also speed up. Normalcy is what everyone is pining for and normalcy seems to be already around the bend. But how that new normal will look, we still don’t know. We are not yet at that stage when the bombs have stopped exploding and those who are hiding are coming out to pick up the pieces, sort of.

But we can start, little by little, the rebuilding process now. I for one will start with going to church again on Sundays. That will hopefully start a careful normalization process that will still be tied to the health protocols like wearing a mask, physical distancing and regular washing of the hands. I may have to be bolder in doing errands and going out.

But I don’t buy this point about letting go of inhibitions just because one is fully vaccinated. Vaccines do give us protection but not from getting infected with Covid or from infecting others with it. Breakthrough infections continue, though the vaccinated may not get seriously ill.

What I am saying is that we should try to normalize things within the limits set by health authorities who are battling to end the pandemic. This is not only about livelihood that the lockdowns have severely affected. This is also about the psychological makeup of every member of the family. As I noted in a previous article, there is one overlooked aspect of the lockdowns and other efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: mental health.

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