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Opinions of Thursday, 30 April 2020

Columnist: Norshie Israel

How coronavirus took my daily bread but took everything he ever loved

Norshie Israel Norshie Israel

It was 3:00 am in the morning and as an early bird, I was awake to perform my morning routines: read the bible, pray, meditate and get ready for the day, though I had nowhere to go – COVID-19 has taken away my source of daily bread, an MC and a PR guy - I murmured.

I have been home for a month and weeks, I can’t be bothered, I’m getting used to it. Then sharply came to mind words from the good old book. Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer, supplication and thanksgiving make your request known to God”. I wrapped the bad feeling, dunk it in the trash, and continued with that which I was doing.

Phone beeps, I ignored as usual because I’m busy cultivating the habit of not attending to my phone during the first hour of the day. I finally got to my phone and received a text that cleared out my blurred window and lenses through which I saw life. I thought I was losing out, but my friend was drowning.

I’m not much of a person who complains, but one who tries to see the best in every situation, the lessons to be learned and the blessings in disguise every phenomenon presents. As a student of life, I take the lessons and move on: I live, I learn, I grow but not this time.

Things are different, the longevity of this COVID-19 pandemic is gradually getting me to lay down my guard, my positivity and faith, my belief and trust in God as it keeps getting worse though the recovery rates are increasing while the infection rates grow exponentially. This brings to mind, Psalm 56v3: “In times I’m afraid, I will trust thee.”

My faith is rekindled and the zeal to surge on engulfs me and builds a sustaining euphoria around me. But, could that be the case for my friend whose text came through as early as 3:14 am? Certainly not.

He has lost his sister and brother-in-law, grandmother and father all in a day, are you thinking it was through an accident, No! The cause of death was COVID-19. The thought alone of his bitter loss is exasperating, but losing his job while his mortgage payments pile up? This can drive everyone down the road to an asylum. But not my friend.

Lest I forget, he was diagnosed with the virus a few days ago and keeps showing symptoms he narrated in the text. What could life want from him: Lost his family in a day, homeless now and had to perch with friends and that’s how he also contracted the virus.

I’m awe-stricken, here I was thinking of how this pandemic snatched out my daily bread from the firm grips of my lips while my friend has lost not just his daily bread but all he ever lived for. I need me some re-thinking, I thought to myself. Yes, I do.

His departing words before being taken into isolation lingers on my mind while it simmers through my lips: ”Keep me safe my God, for in you I take refuge – Psalm 16 v1”. I have not seen faith at this level of display. Indeed, you don’t drown by falling into a river, but you drown by being submerged in it and he refuses to be submerged.

Here is a young man who the world will say has lost everything but he is telling the world no, for he has God, his faith in him and filled with the hope of returning soon in good health. My blurred window has indeed been whipped clear with just a text.

What more can I ever ask for, I have life, but no job; I have a roof over my head, but no food to eat; I’m in very good health, same is my family yet just like most of you. I’m saddled with needless worry about what to eat and how I was going to survive while God has always come through for me some way, somehow from day one. I’m more convinced now than ever that he will again as the book of Matthew reminds.

“Matthew 6:26; Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” With this coming to mind, I lay to rest my worry and so should you.

These are unusual times, but our best bet is to spread faith and hope not to fear, to be there for one another while we practice social distancing for “This too shall pass”. But while we wait, learn to be grateful, learn to lend a hand to someone who needs help, and avoid stigmatization.

The world will smile again, we will rise again and we will try again. We are in a pandemic, but let’s do well to find peace in the storm (Peacedemic) rather than allowing the storm to tear us apart and rip away every iota of love, strength, and joy in our hearts.

My friend promised me he will be back in fourteen days and that he will not let this setback be a letdown. I wait in prayer and resolute in faith while referring to one of his departing words, “You are my king Oh God, command victories for Israel. – Psalm 44V4.”

Pray with me, hope on with me but never let down your preventive guard for COVID-19 can destroy the body but not the soul. Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water, sanitize, wear your face mask, and take care of your immune system. Stay safe and see you soon.

The writer is by name Norshie Israel, or better still Kwesi Omega, a Public Relations and communication student and enthusiast. A professional MC and an ardent believer. In God I trust, men and situations, I monitor.