Thursday, June 24, 2021

Velez: Wishes and reconnections

COVID-19 did not stop us Pinoys from celebrating Christmas. What I see as I scrolled across my Facebook wall the past days are images of families and friends getting together, sharing meals, and sharing hopes even as the year was tough with loss and struggles.

Our Pinoy culture is a strange mix of optimism and fatalism. While we remain optimistic, we also say “bahala na” and risk going out for Christmas grocery to buy Noche Buena, Christmas mass, or Christmas get-togethers.

But this Christmas is different, it’s a moment that provides respite from what has been a tough year of surviving. We stayed home. We pray for our safety when we go out. We tried our best to keep things going in the family. We struggled with work at home and finding the best gadgets for online school for our kids.

Like you, readers, I also had friends and family who got sick with Covid-19. I also lost friends this year, not due to Covid-19, but losing them this year makes me rethink a lot of the purpose of our life in this season and beyond.

Whatever tough times we’ve been through, the thing that keeps us together has been our resolve, and also our family, and friends.

In a strange year that kept us distanced, and going out giving us anxiety, connection is found in the digitized world. Zoom meetings, chat groups, and other digitized communications kept us connected in a lot of ways. It got us to stay in touch with peers, reconnect with family and friends, kept us abreast of times. Nothing beats face to face connection, but we have to make do with this.

Connectivity is something I wish for in 2021. That somehow the divisiveness of the past years will be dispelled by more efforts to get us going. Connectivity showed us this year the possibility of movements acting for change like during the US election, of collective actions to help feed the poor during the pandemic, of cheering for frontliners who have been exhausted by this year, of our outpouring in the streets and courtrooms when life and liberty have been shackled. There are still possibilities for 2021.

This Christmas season will be over, and we have a tougher 2021. How do we survive, we have to find ways to reconnect with our resolve and our resources. The vaccine may not be around soon. Our economy will be grinding slower. It is never going to be easy, but the lesson we have this year must be pressed forward.

We long to walk out on the streets again, feel the sun, and feel the community safe and stronger.

A meaningful new year to everyone.


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