The COVID Pandemic in the Eyes of a Pilgrim

The COVID Pandemic in the Eyes of a Pilgrim

by Maria Rhona M. Gatpandan-Bergantin, MD,MSc
UST Medicine Class 1995 - Infectious Diseases Specialist

A little over a year ago, my husband and two of our close friends set on a journey and followed the trail of St. James the Apostle until we were able to reach his cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain after walking 110 kilometres for 10 days.

To majority of individuals who are so used to walking long distances, what we did is nothing out of the ordinary. But for a person who had stroke-like

symptoms and was able to see things in quadruple and unable to walk for quite a while, the journey is the fulfilment of a great dream - - - one that has been anchored to the hope that things will get better after dark days.

More than the adventure, the Camino has taught us valuable lessons which I can say, has helped me as a health care worker in this time of COVID pandemic. Everything we experience in life are just fleeting and temporary – just like the picturesque and the not so picturesque scenes we pass by in our journey; any emotions we feel – grief or joy.

We are all equal – it is a fact that in our society, we put a high premium to those who have achieved more, gained material wealth more, and those who are more popular. In this pandemic, the societal and economic bridge that separate us is bridged by our common need to survive.

Live simply. In our journey, we need to identify our basic and bare essentials. Similarly, in this pandemic, we should prioritize our families, friends and loved ones.
In our weariness and anxieties during these trying times, we often forget that the loads we carry hinder us from attaining the peace and joy we truly need.

Always have a grateful heart. The food we eat and the clothes we are made to wear in this pandemic, may be quite far from the ones we used to eat or wear, pre-COVID, but we ought to realize that not everyone gets the chance to receive these provisions, thus if you are part of the luckier ones, please do not fret and complain. Simply say, thank you.

Persevere and have loads and loads of faith. With our harrowing and sorrowful experience in this era of COVID, we should persevere in our prayers, do our share in limiting the spread of the virus and take care of each other. Trust that our God Who is journeying with us in this darkness, will carry us to the light.

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