May 20, 2021
There were nights when I caught myself watching cars, bicycles, ambulances, motorcycles, and trucks pass by. Stars faintly shine above. The lights dimly illuminate the streets below.
You see, there are weeks that I have to be alone physically in this pandemic. I have always been proud of being independent for the past nine years, which is almost one-third of my life so far.
But this pandemic hits differently.
There is no pride in my independence. It gets lonely when you are alone.
At midnight, everything seems so quiet. But this silence comes not with peace, but with desperation and loneliness. And I see that same desperation and loneliness slowly creep their way into my own heart.
I am alone and lonely.
I try to draw comfort from observing vehicles passing by on the highway, which is only a stone’s throw away from my house.
I see that lone cyclist. He must be coming home from work and had no other means to travel but to ride his bicycle at midnight just so he can go home to be with his family, wishing he had his own car or maybe a better life. It was not his dream for his family to be living from hand-to-mouth, and this pandemic made life even more difficult.
But at least he can still go home.
I get to talk to a few delivery guys, and I see one at midnight. What if he had to give up on his dream job because of this pandemic? Thinking about it, he has to work hard to deliver food on the table of another person just so he can bring food on his own.
I see that ambulance. I think of how hard it must be for the driver to see death a few inches from him almost every day. He must have had his share of COVID-19 scares because of proximity. Oh, how scary it must be to think that he could be bringing home the virus to his family.
And then I think of myself who yearns to have one dinner with my whole family, which last happened on New Year’s Day of 2020. I wish I had the capacity to go home to my family in the province more often.
In the midst of my loneliness, I couldn’t stop the “what ifs” from flooding in. If I only had my own car; maybe if I took a different career path that pays really well; or maybe if my family is rich, I wouldn’t be so alone right now.
However, I draw comfort from knowing that in the minutes I get to observe those vehicles, I wasn’t alone while being alone.
It has been a long year for everyone, and it seems it won’t be ending anytime soon.
It has been a long year for those who haven’t been with their family in a long time,
For those who lost their jobs,
For those who are hungry,
For those who were/are sick,
For those who lost loved ones.
It must have been a long year for those who hunger for fellowship and friendship,
For those who yearn for a hug,
For those far from their loved ones,
For those who feel lost,
For those who feel alone,
For those who are tired.
At the start of the year, I told myself that if there is one name of God I would always remind myself of, it has to be “Immanuel.” I want to be reminded that God is with me always.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).
This Christmas message is my daily reminder. The One that went down here on earth is the One I get to be with every day.
Even in the silence, He is here.
Even in loneliness, He is here.
Even when I don’t feel it, He is here.
And just as He is with me, He is with you.
Alone may be a feeling and a lonely state of being, but I want to assure you today that God sees, hears, understands, and meets you where you are. His presence goes beyond just a feeling and a state of being.
His presence is constant. Let’s take heart once again.
Hang in there, dear student.