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Percolating

COVID-19 and me

Malaysia has been on a partial lockdown since 18 March. Today is 16 April. Here are some of my thoughts and learnings:-

  • Life can be unpredictable. Did I imagine in February that Malaysia would have a stay-at-home order? Not at all. This is unheard of. I had been contemplating how for a few decades, life has remained quite the same with no real upheavals. This is a real about turn. A real 180 degree change.
  • In February, I was still at the same job with no newness to it. By mid-February, it felt like a new opportunity was birthing although admittedly, this came unexpectedly. In late February we were caught up with the perils of politics and a swift change in government and I had a new job.
  • In early March, I was trying to sort out logistics of changing jobs. Did I envision a work from home situation? No. Although I’ve always liked the prospect of working from home.
  • In terms of work planning, we were looking at things across the causeway like a far removed situation, a ‘that won’t happen to us’ situation but also being optimistic and thinking ‘this too shall pass’
  • By mid-March, like a falling axe, we were all told to work from home. The whole office, the whole country. It didn’t feel like an axe to me but I remember my last day in the office, while everyone was working from home, I had gone in and there were just a few of us there. We were sorting through things, finishing up what we could in the office. I also packed up. I packed about 85% of my things due to some advice. And I’m glad I did. If I do return to the office, it will seem like the apocalypse, I imagine. Things untouched for a few weeks. The city must be like Left Behind, devoid of life, the remnants of what was. Will things return to normal?
  • The rest of March and April was spent at home. I was on holiday for 3 weeks. Not that that meant much. I closed up my old job and started a new one. All while living through an apocalypse.
  • We say to stay at home is to save the vulnerable. I have to remind myself that staying at home means that we are not overwhelming the healthcare system. The Malaysian healthcare system has always taken the over-cautious approach. We don’t do too many clinical trials but only observe what has proven to work. It’s good. Our curve flattening is working out well.
  • Was it easy to survive the last 28 days? It’s a mindset moment. The first week, everyone was freaking out about having to stay-at- home. I like staying at home. There is no pressure to go out. I realise that I miss sitting at a cafe. I also noticed I can live with very little. In fact, all of us can live with very little. And this is a mindset moment.
  • God is good. In the first week of the stay-at-home order, I had to look into the Bible and figure out about Divine Providence and the sovereignty of God. He wills all of this for our good. Mariah Carey was part of a viral “He’s got the whole world in His hands” campaign that, looking back now, is truly uplifting and brings a lot of comfort.
  • I saw how important it is to have the right perspective and the right mindset. Sure, we can complain and keep focusing on the injustice and the negativity but can we change the current situation? No. We must adapt and look at it positively. It’s hard to help people who can’t get their head around it. I get it that some times they don’t mean to be this way. But how do we get them out of the rut? Maybe they feel lonely and abandoned. Maybe they have no purpose and nothing to look forward to. Which is why faith is important. There is something to look forward to.
  • Do I believe that God’s got my back? I do.
  • As a person averse to change, I would never have changed jobs amidst a global crisis. Yet things moved about and here I am. When my father was first diagnosed, I turned down a pretty good opportunity to be there. Do I look back and wonder? Yes but I also know God’s brought me this far not to forsake me.
  • I fear what I don’t know. And yet throughout this stay-at-home order, I feel safe and secure. Almost upbeat. Regardless of what is happening around me or to me. I have heard bad news. I’ve experienced bad news myself. But I feel cheerful inside.
  • I’m scared of disappointing. I’m scared because I know I am a limited being with a lot of weak spots. I worry what others see. And so through this job change amidst an apocalypse, I can only live day by day. Don’t look too far. Live in present.
  • I’m grateful that my God has my back and He’s taking care of everyone I love by keeping them at home and safe. And that means He’s taking care of you too.
  • He’s got the whole world in His hands. The world is healing. Rivers are turning blue, the skies are blue, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining bright and I believe this rest the world is experiencing is God’s way of resetting it in some way. When Noah was in his ark, it took God 40 days and 40 nights to reset the environment. I wonder if it will be the same for us.