2020 Quarantine Diary

It’s been a while since I last posted here in my blog, maybe because I was too busy, or I have other priorities than writing my thoughts here and sharing it to you, my dear reader.

person holding hand sanitizer
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

However, the universe has a way of saying, “Stop and Chill”. Last March 17, our Philippine government has declared an Enhanced Community Quarantine, generally a lock down, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All schools closed, only essential business remain open, and travel is restricted, whether by air, land or sea. The country was gripped with shock and fear as the infections of the virus continuously rise, and the normal daily routine stopped. Not only has this happened in the Philippines, but all over the world. Most governments have guidelines and strategies in place to prevent the spread of the virus, but as this is unexpected, most people were caught off-guard. Everyone has to stay home, practice sanitary hygiene and hand washing, and most especially, keep themselves protected, so as to help the community, rather, the whole country, in its fight against the coronavirus.

So what did I do during this time? Like most Filipinos, I stayed home. For the first month, I was lucky enough to be able to work from home and get paid. However, since we are from the publishing industry with schools as our client, the inevitable has happened. Our company has to tighten the budget to avoid layoffs for its employees. Most employees went on a NO WORK NO PAY setup, only the managers and the officers were on skeleton workforce. We are still part of the company, but we are on floating status.

There were uncertainties and this season has allowed me to reflect on my goals, my career, my life. For sure, everyone will become a different person after this pandemic, the only question is, will I emerge for the better or for the worse?

I chose to become better even if the situation is not. Luckily, I got accepted into Code In Place, an experimental online course offered by Stanford University for free to learn the basics of programming and Python. The universe has not let me down. I have something to work on while everything is out of control.

Karel

The Code in Place online course lasted for 5 weeks, mostly 6 weeks since we have a final project to work on. During this time, I have learned about programming basics, and Python. I really enjoyed this class as there are a lot of students I can ask questions if ever I get stuck with an assignment, and a class section that feels right like college. Even before, I already dreamt of becoming a web developer, or software engineer, but the universe has other plans. I am loving my coding experience and in my next posts, I will be documenting my progress here in my blog as I start my journey to becoming a web developer. 🙂

For now, the situation may be uncertain for many of us — you or your loved one has been affected greatly by this pandemic, either your business has closed down, you were laid off, you got the virus, or you have experienced difficulty during this pandemic, I feel you. Know that you are not alone. Let us choose to become better one day at a time.

 

What is Love?

Recently, I’ve come to reflect about my personal definition of love when a friend asked  my perspective on it. It was such an abstract concept that people tend to give various definitions to it based on their experiences.

After contemplating on love, I’ve realized this is my personal definition:

Love is experiencing extraordinary moments that accumulated over time, then somehow choosing to love the person no matter what. Love is a choice and committing to that choice over and over again. True love without sacrifice is meaningless.

As humans, it is our nature to think first about ourselves, but if you have chosen to love the other person, sacrificing your own self for what’s best for the other, you have experienced true love.

Even if you think the person does not deserve your love but still choose to love that person over and over again, that’s true love.

Love is not a responsibility but a choice. If it’s a responsibility, then even if you don’t want it, you’ll do it anyway. Like you’re obligated. But if it’s a choice, you are deciding to love the person and accepting the consequences connected with that decision. You are owning your love for that person.

Is it applicable to any type of relationship? My above definition is definitely applicable to romantic and familial relationship. But what about spiritual? About love for friends? About love for oneself? About love for one’s country?

I think it will all boil down to one’s freedom of will. Humans are given the freedom to choose, the freedom to say yes, to say no, the freedom to believe or not to believe, the freedom to trust, or not to trust. I think it all boils down to that power to choose given to us. But how do we use this power in ways not destructing but encouraging to people? How can we use this freedom to lift others up instead of pushing them down?

I think it is all about love. And as with any type of relationship, whether for your family, whether for your friends, whether for your significant other, whether for a higher being that you believe or not, it will always be a choice to love and receive love. A choice we are given to show the true meaning of life on this earth.

What about the spiritual definition of love?

I always remember what Paul said to the Corinthian church about love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 (Contemporary English Version):

Love: The Universal Spiritual Gift

 If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.

Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. We know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known.

Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.

With the above spiritual definition of love, it will always be hard to comprehend and apply such if we are face to face with pain, hurt, anger, sickness, doubt and problems. But I guess love is a universal spiritual gift given to us by the One true creator of love.  If we receive that unconditional love from the creator, I think it will be easier to give love to others. But above all, I think it will always be a choice for us whether to give the love that we receive, or not at all.

At the end of the day, I have pictured the love that Jesus has showed me all my life:

Even though I am not patient and want my own way, He is still patient with me and teaches me to put others first.

Even though I am lost with my identity, He has given me a new life. The old has gone, the new has come.

Even though I am a complainer, He is still patient with me, hearing my concerns, loving me and doesn’t keep a record of my wrongs. He has erased my transgressions from east to west.

Even though I didn’t feel loved growing up, He still died on the cross to show how much He loves me. He could have wiped the people from earth, He could have judged me and condemned me but instead, He showed love in its highest form. He showed love through sacrifice. He showed power in love when He chose to love you and me despite our past, our sins, our problems, our ego, our accomplishments, our rejection of Him. He still chose to love.

That for me, is the true definition of love.

Then, I realized,

Love is always a choice. It will always be a choice.

A choice to give love. A choice to receive love.

And in life, we always live with the consequence of that choice.

Back to Basics

I’ve been contemplating these past weeks whether or not to dedicate this page to purely my career goals. As you may have noticed, I’ve deleted some of my posts that reveals the personal side of me, well, maybe because I wanted to focus on helping people know more about educational technology and as it happens here in the Philippines. But heck, it has been quite hard not to share both the good and the bad things that happen to me, which, in one way or another, could inspire some of you.

 

So, I’m trying to redesign this part of my online life. I’m thinking of posting all my work-related stories to my other blog page, elearninginph, and just inspire you here with all my personal stories about what I experience about life. If you think you wanna keep your feeds clean and professional in one-way or another, feel free to unfollow me. 🙂 But if you want to be inspired, just allow me to share my life with you.

 

Why? 

Now that I’m older, I’ve realized that keeping my life private is a better way to live life. I’m able to share bits and pieces to a few of my friends, and it’s less time to manage my online and social media life. But when I first set up this blog page about 10 years ago, my goal is to just keep writing, and let my introvert self share bits and pieces to the world. It is my way of growing and expressing myself.

 

So now, after 10 years, I’m going back to the first reason I’m blogging — to just write and express myself.

Thus, the title for this post is Back to Basics.

pexels-photo-733852

 

In the next few days, I’ll be deleting my work-related posts here. Instead, I’ll be sharing my experiences about the places I’ve traveled, books I’ve read, people I’ve met, movies I’ve watched, ideas that inspired me, and lessons I’ve learned about life. You will get to know me better, as I would be writing — no holds barred.

 

So there. 🙂