The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the planet and continues to do so, even as fire and violence hit the streets. Pandemic after pandemic serves to wipe our lenses to see the current state of affairs of the society we live in. And it's the same message we hear:
I can't breathe.
When SARS-CoV-19 came and swept the air, many rushed to the ER whispering, "I can't breathe." ICUs ran out of ventilators as more people gasped for breath. The zoonotic plague seemed to be Mother Earth's way of shouting, "I can't breathe," forcing people to stop all the activities, clearing the air, and finally giving her the respite she needed.
But a brief respite was all that she had, before another uproar came from people who've gone berserk with the masks on their faces. "I can't breathe!" And the world once more riveted into another pandemonium of opinions. To wear masks or not to wear masks.
Before a resolution could be had, a knee-jerking incident pushed another human being to beg, "I can't breathe." And the massive exodus of people from their homes to the streets completed our picture of catastrophe.
Clearly, the world is clamoring for change. How many more "I can't breathes" do we need before we realize that?
Those gasps should have served to produce mists on our dirty spectacles so we can wipe it clear.
I was so excited to embrace this year, highly joyfully-expectant of the surprises and events that would unfold. And what a surprise the first quarter had been.
How do I react to these? Or is that even an option? We have always been reacting to the events. Have I stopped to ponder and pro-act instead?
I think I have come to a state of surrender. It's not the kind of surrender that makes one cry out in hopelessness and despair. Instead, it's the kind of surrender that acknowledges that even a small voice can be heard amidst the rubble.
"Lord, I can't breathe. Please give us a respite from all the toxicity in the air---the toxicity of prejudice, anger, violence, rebellion, pride, greed, lust for power, avarice, envy--calamity after calamity. We need the peace that only You can give."
"With our noise and shouting, we have consumed the oxygen. Everyone can't breathe anymore. Breathe the Holy Spirit in us and resuscitate the face of the earth. We are in dire need of Your life support. Please blow the current tide to go Your Way, not his way, nor her way, nor my way. We have done it our way and it sucked... the life of the planet."
We need silence to hear the voice of the voiceless and the cry of the poor. We need silence to gasp for air. We need silence to pray and listen to God's answer. We need silence to mourn what we've lost. The whole world needs to go on a sabbatical to understand what's going on.
To LISTEN, we need to be SILENT.
Perhaps we will hear a voice that once spoke these words:
"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows." (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)