It’s been a month and a half since I was discharged, after testing positive in mid-March coming back from the UK.
2020 was supposed to be the year where I had everything going for me.
I had set my goals out for the year in early January. I was approaching my 1st year in marriage and absolutely loving it. I was leaving my previous tech company of 4 years to join an exciting, up-and-coming tech firm to help launch their Asia business. I had my holidays planned for the year – I was finally going to bring my parents to Japan.
2020 was supposed to be the year where I accumulate enough savings to start a family with my wife, to finance our new house, to begin an exciting new job that will take me up the ranks of my career, to go for exotic holidays all over the world.
But you, COVID-19, came into my life at the most unexpected time. You came right smack when I was supposed to be living the best year of my life. When you came, my plans got thrown in shambles, my life was disrupted, my world came to a halt.
I vividly remember the day I received the call from the doctor in Sengkang Hospital, the moment I told my wife I tested positive, my mum crying when I told her the news, the ambulance that came for me, and the feeling when I had to change out of my home clothes and into the hospital gowns at the isolation ward. I remember the feelings of anxiety and loneliness throughout the days in the hospital.
You, COVID-19, changed everything.
However, now that everything is over, I got to thank you, COVID-19, or perhaps more accurately, thank God, because it was through this hellish episode in 2020 that I was truly reminded of life’s ultimate priorities.
At the hospital bed, when I was weak, feverish and isolated, you reminded me that life is more than just a well-paying job, more than seeking pleasures from vacations, more than living in comfort and more than just human achievements. You reminded me that true life is about having meaningful relationships, people who would pray for you, friends, family and loved ones being there for you.
And ultimately, life is about faith, hope and love. Life is about the eternal and not the pursuit of the temporal.
So, somehow in a strange way, I have to say “thank you, COVID-19”, for bringing me back to reality.
Everyone is affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. As we are all stuck at home thinking about the “I wonder when..” and “if only…”, I encourage everyone to take a moment to look around and give thanks for the love and relationships we have. Hug your family members (only if you are not sick, of course), bless them with words and affirmations, gift them with prayers. Remember what life is truly about.
Everything happens for a reason, even this. And I pray that we can emerge from this pandemic stronger in what truly matters.