Making use of isolation time

By Modesto P. Sa-onoy

From the words of President Duterte the other day, the quarantine of the entire country will be extended, whether our community is free of the virus or not. The situation in Luzon will determine our fate. Under the present situation local governments are on their toes; they can just wait for the mandate from Manila. I hope I am wrong, and a calibrated lifting will be considered so that economic activities outside of Luzon can begin and shorten the recession.

Be that as it may, several people have learned to make the best of the worst situation. I watched the other night the “reflections” aired by Fr. Deogracias Camon and his usual humor in the face of our challenges and his perception of what we can learn are indeed encouraging. God never abandons His people.

And so how did we make the best in time of isolation? A friend, a retired doctor, is alone in her house and she told me aside from taking care of her plants (she has a large garden), preparing her meager meals and watching television, she has nothing else to do. I suggested that she writes her memoirs since she has quite a life. She said she had long thought of doing so but did not know how and her children were of no help either. I gave her several tips and she is now working on her life’s story and if she preservers, she can have her work completed into a book before her 83rd birthday.

I did the same to a friend who was bedridden after a fall. For a very active man to be consigned to a bed for one month is difficult to bear. I suggested that he dictates his life’s story, from childhood to his present prestigious positions. He did and now he is proofreading and inserting more information in his draft. The quarantine ensured that he will not be disturbed with his usual work and attending his almost daily appointments. He has more time now that his memoirs in book form may be launched when he celebrates his 75th birthday later this year.

A retired housewife finally found the time to sort out things she had accumulated during her 33 years as a government employee. And she found that she has dozens of things that she cannot use anymore and now she prepares them for distributions to over a dozen nieces and grandnieces.

I have started writing the history of Bacolod. I wrote a concise book, just 62 pages of the city’s history in 1998 during the centennial of the Philippine Revolution. Since then I have written eight more books, from at least 250 to 900 pages each and numerous manuscripts. A few years ago, I started the history of Bacolod but completed only Chapter I because of many interruptions. Fortunately, it was still there in the computer

Now, that there are no more appointments and projects to worry about I decided to complete the city’s history. My library is complete with the needed data for this project. A few clarificatory information may be needed but I know where they are, and they can easily be obtained. Uninterrupted except by taking meals and naps and tracking the news on television and the internet, and a night break, I completed the first draft up to Chapter V. I’m starting on Chapter VI. Three more chapters on my outline and the manuscript would be finished by the time the ECQ is lifted.

I thought that the moment the ECQ had run its course by April 14, I shall have completed the work and lay it for a while for future editing and going through the data again from a fresh perspective. Now that the ECQ appears to be given another 15 days, I will have more time to complete the work.

So, time in isolation has its merits. We are forced to do things that we put aside “for another day”. Of course, being deprived of liberty to move and do things we wanted done can be frustrating and irritating, but if we have faith that God does not leave us alone and that things like this pandemic has a Divine purpose or permission we are strengthened and become innovative.

A crisis is always a test of faith. Just consider the ECQ as Lenten sacrifice.