My Normal Days Behind Community Quarantines
It was January of 2020 in the workplace and there was news spreading about a certain virus. I heard the virus was contagious but the affected place was far from where I was, so I had nothing to worry about.
I was on my usual work schedule. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare for my 6 a.m. shift, entered the office using the access card, went to my station, logged in to my account, and downloaded the files assigned for me. I had an hour to take my lunch and had my coffee break. The files assigned for the day needed to be submitted before the shift ends. It finally did, and I went home or went somewhere to unwind.
Two months later, there was a report that a person positive with the virus arrived in the city. This caused panic to everyone including my company’s management and we were told to work from home and observe the protocol for community quarantine. The transition was rough and sudden that it took me a while to process everything—finances, time, social life, leisure, and ministry.
First, regarding finances, the thought of working from home was convenient at first, but there was no compensation for the electric and internet bills. This setup only increased our expenses, which led me to complain about how unfair the company was with them.
Second, quarantine offers time as best convenient for me. Instead of having a one-hour break, I can choose to leave my work anytime for as long as I finish the assigned files within the day. Because of this, I have more time to spend with my family and explore new skills. But sometimes, I have to spend the entire day working, contrary to the eight-hour shift.
Third, since I hate small talk with acquaintances, I believe my social life significantly gets less draining. But the longer I stay at home and am deprived of conversation with other people, the more the setup becomes depressing. Whether a person is an extrovert or introvert, he/she intrinsically longs for a companionship.
Fourth, my leisure time is always in nature and long drives. Due to multiple checkpoints within and outside the city, my movement is limited. I cannot go beyond the boundaries if my transaction was unessential and if I don’t have the color-coded quarantine pass, which is only valid for certain days of the week. And even if I was able to get through, most of the landmarks are closed.
Finally, in the ministry, we transitioned from face-to-face to a live-stream platform. I wouldn’t even consider ‘online church’ a church. There was no interaction among church members, and the sense of fellowship was gone. Moreover, when the students went home in the province, another church service in the city—composed mostly of students—was cancelled.
The quarantine caused a lot of setbacks and delays. There are many reasons to complain, and every reason is valid. However as I start to trust God in His sovereignty, I get to see the beauty this season has brought. The fruit of God’s goodness is overwhelming, making the bad things seem insignificant. The following are only a few of the many good things the quarantine has caused: I got to have more time in devotion and discipleship; I had the opportunity to join PSALM training, for which I couldn’t have had if I was working in the office on a regular shift; and a pastor was stranded and could not travel back home, so he started to initiate multiple home churches.
If the Lord wills, He can eliminate the virus instantly and we can just go back to our old normal lifestyles; yet He did not. He has something good in store for His people and for His glory. No matter how we perceive this situation, the Lord is always good in this age and in the age to come.