It's been three years since the first lockdown was implemented in the Philippines.
For most of us, the last few years was a cross between awful and beautiful. The awful occupies a significant space in our memories. It changed the way we work and live.
As for me, those years were when I felt most unlucky, overlooked by the same hand that showers blessings to mankind.
Matters of health and relationships disrupted plans I thought were firm enough to stand on. I had no answers then and have no answers now. I'm not even sure if it's worth finding out.
A long interrogation
Is there any use to knowing why our circumstances happened the way they did? How do we cope? How do we survive a tragedy? When do we cut ties and end a chapter? If we did find out the answers, what would we do?
There's nothing more to change.
Should we fill ourselves with regret and try to be better people to yield better results?
Books, experts, and religion tell us to get rid of negativity, use the law of attraction, and stay positive. The formula does not work for everybody.
For Kate Bowler, mom, cancer patient, and writer, "there is no formula. We live and we are loved and we are gone."
The only thing that's certain
These tragedies leave us in unspeakable pain. Years may take for recovery to catch up. Sometimes, no amount of time, therapy, and self-care can lead us to the recovery we're hoping for. The agony only becomes more bearable but never completely gone.
What made these life events useful was how they, despite the rough endings, served as caution to this principle-
the unpredictability of life is what we can count on. All of us, with no exception, are under this sweeping truth.
What doesn't kill you makes you
In retrospect, I can point out things that I missed and should have done better. But saying "what did not kill me made me stronger" may be inaccurate.
What they gave me was a broader, more grounded view of this life we are in. That in one blink, everything can be taken away. That the most important things we hold close to us are quick and easy to lose.
We lose people before we can learn to live without them. -Kate Bowler
What doesn't kill us does not make us stronger. It simply makes us.
This is a response to this writing prompt by Kate Bowler.