Wenceslao: Fears and worries

Candid Thoughts

THE death of Cebu City Councilor Antonio Cuenco and the narration by City Councilor Joel Garganera of the time his wife and him also got afflicted with Covid-19 naturally continued to spark from many of us worries about the continued spread here of the coronavirus. More so because the spread has not been arrested fully and a cure and a vaccine have still to be discovered to effectively fight it.

Medical practitioners and government officials are most at risk but even those who mostly stay at home or who rarely go out of their communities could still be at risk. Two factors: one, the virus could not be seen by the naked eye and, two, it can be spread by people who have the virus but do not exhibit the symptoms of the disease. That is why I agree with Garganera when he talked about prayer.

That had me reminiscing about those times when I was in the countryside when I was younger. Those times when your comrades were either killed or arrested and you ask when that would also happen to you. That had me contemplating fate. The words "swerte" and "signos" got bandied around.

One time, I mulled about that while helping the patriarch of the village I was staying in to grind corn grains into corn grits using a traditional corn grinder. The grains were grinded between two circular stones, the upper one of which had a handle that allowed a person to turn the stones against each other in circular motion. The grains are fed into the opening and are then grinded between the stones before going out of another hole.

I would place a spoonful or two of the corn grains near the grinder's opening and watch these move slowly to the lip and then fall down between the two circular stones. I used that as an analogy for our situation. What if we were the corn grains and I was one of them? When would I be finally pushed into the opening and be grinded?

I remember us sleeping on a hilltop with thick vegetation, waking up at dawn glad we were still alive and repeating that routine for days. The fear and the worries I harbored then probably contributed to the nerve problems I have now. It was then that I found the reason why many of us have become fatalistic, why the line "que sera sera" has become more of a weapon to survive challenges rather than a slogan to be careless.

And then prayers. When I posted on Facebook about "tuob," many people came out to testify about the effectiveness of this local version of steam inhalation as a cure. I was of course not questioning "tuob's" efficacy but just not against Covid-19. And I will never question the effectiveness of prayer because I did resort to it in the many times that life tested and challenged me.

And the Covid-19 pandemic is another one of those tests and challenges. Frankly, I am tempted to embrace the words "swerte" and "signos" in strengthening my resolve, but that is not the way us Catholics deal with life's tests and challenges. Rather, we embrace God and say, "thy will be done."


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