By Juliana Valdez
I try to tune in to the frequent news conferences, viewing the panel of government officials and other relevant personnel whose duty it is to keep the nation informed and up to date about the COVID-19 pandemic, locally and internationally.
The questions came fast and furious from the many journalists facing the panel at the daily press releases. Questions after questions were asked and answered, sometimes the same questions in different ways.
Situation worsens; strategies to disseminate information change. The virtual conferences where the journalists called in their questions become the norm.
But there was one thing that for me, stood out at one of the gatherings when the journalists were still physically present. It was when the Prime Minister was asked by one of the female journalists, how he was coping personally with the situation.
It was enlightening to hear him respond that he was experiencing all the emotions the citizens were experiencing. Separation from a loved one, his daughter who is isolated in New York, the death of his eldest brother whose funeral he was going to attend in Tobago, with the issue of only five persons allowed to be present.
But beyond that, my joy was in the fact that someone acknowledged that apart from being the Prime Minister, he is also a husband, father, brother. He and the other officials who have to be out there to inform, educate and enlighten the population, they too are experiencing what the citizens are, in one form or the other, because they too are not exempt from the threat of the virus.
It was very considerate of the journalist to reach out with concern about the well-being of the officials.
Are we showing the same consideration for the well-being of others? In our communities, the Church family, etc, are those of us who are capable, showing the care and concern for those who are not?
How have we been treating with the elderly, especially those who are alone, whose relatives may not be near and who may not have anyone to ‘do’ for them.
While we have to be obedient to the guidelines given by the authorities about social distancing and staying at home, strategies can be worked out to attend to those who may need our assistance. This is a time to live the mandate given to us by Christ Jesus to be our brothers’ keepers.
We cannot count on the authorities to do everything. I know personally of families who are reaching out to their sick or incapacitated neighbours, providing meals, running errands where necessary and keeping in contact just to make sure they are comfortable.
Among the Church family, there are those who are ensuring that they keep in contact with the members through phone calls, just so that they will know that they are being thought of and so the loneliness will not overwhelm them.
There are many of our elderly who are accustomed to hopping the bus, whether to go about their business or for recreation. You can imagine the frustration with the restrictions to their movements.
A phone call, ‘How you doing today?’ or ‘Put your television on channel whatever to see whatever…’ or ‘I called to say a word of prayer, share a scripture reading, pray the rosary, pray the Angelus, pray one of the litanies…’
These little things go a long way to encouraging that sense of belonging, that sense of being cared for.
Remember, “We’re all in this thing together”.
May Almighty God, the Divine Healer, the Ultimate Physician, bring healing and restoration to our world from this virus.