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Seek serenity

By Juliana Valdez

2020 was a year like no other in our experience. The COVID-19 pandemic brought home to us the reality that, in the blink of an eye, our existence can change drastically.

No longer ‘normal’ were the things we did as routine. Forced to adapt to a lifestyle being referred to as the ‘new normal’, the citizenry realised that the freedom we enjoyed in going out, gathering for activities, going to school, to work, even breathing the fresh air was now fraught.

Denial of the very existence of the virus, complaints, rebellion, the refusal to comply with measures being put in place, all because the changes seemed to interfere with what was considered our ‘right’ to live as we wanted to. To many, their freedom was under threat!

But for some people, the reality of having to live without what is ‘normal’ to some, is a way of life. While viewing Stay Home on Gayelle recently, a 2005 production intrigued me. Host Jason Daly (now deceased) and Zack Farmer, editor/cameraman, were reminiscing about some of the programmes Zack had done, featuring a variety of topics.

The episode featured the story of Nyron Morales, who, at the age of five, was fed a dose of liquid lye (it was in a cough syrup bottle) by a mentally unstable relative.

His oesophagus, lungs, larynx, etc, were severely damaged, and so began his journey from normal to a new normal. It was amazing hearing how this young man explained his journey and how he survives daily.

Medical assistance was sought, and he went abroad for surgery. After the procedure, it was financially difficult to remain for further therapy the doctors said would have helped him regain his ability to swallow, and so he had to return home.

He regained his voice and the ability to walk, but he could not swallow. He did not lose his sense of taste, so he would chew the food then spit it out. He is fed nutritious liquids through a syringe into a tube, attached to his stomach. His aunt shared that Nyron was a fighter, a survivor, very courageous even in the face of his adversity. Nyron shared with interviewer Errol Fabien, “I did not ask for this; it just came, so I have to live with it!”

Jason and Zack discussed Nyron’s situation and compared our life to his. We, they shared, complain about so many things, oftentimes failing to appreciate and be thankful for our blessings. We complain about what we have to eat, and there are those like Nyron who cannot swallow.

Although this programme was aired many years ago, the sentiments still remain relevant to us. We did not ask for this pandemic, but we have to live with it! The authorities have done their utmost to provide the protocols to keep us safe, but we have to do our part also.

While we mourn the loss of those who have died as a result of COVID-19, those of us still in the land of the living have to count our blessings and be thankful for life.

As we enter into 2021, we must remember to appreciate the things we take for granted, complain less and be obedient to the protocols which have been given to combat the virus.

Taking it into all other aspects of our life, we could make 2021 the year of living the Serenity Prayer. We pray for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.