Malaysia declared Movement Control Order 2020 on March 18th to contain the corona virus. The whole world by March has been swept by the viral tsunami.
As the death toll increased daily a greater fear swept through the nations and I as a senior citizen of over 70 began to realize how much fear and related mental health issues have developed as a result around me.
Wait to die
“We just wait to die then,” a very senior relative of mine told me. Her children were all in West Malayia and she only has a maid to stay with her and her husband in a semi D in Miri. She cannot use the computer but she has a landline and a Smart phone to connect with her children.
A relative could help her buy basic essentials. And I told her that although the normal mobile hawkers cannot serve her area like before, her relative and I can help her. Then I helped to explain to her about the Corona Virus and told her to watch the TV news as often as she could.
As the days went by her children lovingly contacted her and her husband more often and their love and care reassured her. Her good son introduced her to a lot of Bible verses via the phone, so that she could read more every morning. And she and her husband began to share their reflections based on the Bible verses.
Plant Vegetables & Rear Chickens
A friend who used to play a lot of games and go jungle trekking was most worried about the mental health of his mother and his wife during the Pandemic. He was used to their nagging, so his physical exercises helped him cope with their mental health issues. Was he able to cope with them under MCO?
In a sharing session via ZOOM, he witnessed that God led him and his wife to start growing vegetables, a very good exercise for him while his mother happily continued to rear more chickens. More eggs were laid and little chicks appeared much to their joy. They had not expected that. He enlarged their chicken yard and reinforced their fencing, all within the MCO SOP. His mother was grateful and started to remember how she and his father had worked together in a farm in their younger days. They started to talk to each other more, and slowly the nagging seemed to be less.
He led his mother and his wife in family prayers and devotion arranged by his good pastor.
In my own home front, with the limited amount of basic essentials that I have in the fridge and in the cupboard, I have been able to cook meals, without having to go out at all for two whole weeks in a stretch.
And I too have been enjoying God’s blessing as I have Wild Torch Ginger flowers, sweet potato leaves, basil, banana stems, coconut stems, and pineapple suckers in my garden.
I have been practising LESS WASTAGE and healthy eating with two small dishes, all cooked with less oil, or if possible no oil, every main meal. In order to keep boredom at bay, I challenged myself to cook at least 4 different dishes a day. In 56 days I did not repeat any of the dishes I cooked.
When I look at all the possibilities at home, I don’t even have to go out at all for a month, with the garden vegetables and store bought provisions.
I have a Christian neighbor who would be out in her garden every evening at 5.30 when the sun begins to sink into the horizon, ready for a quick sharing in Foochow. Like me, at age above 70, she does not go out at all.
Sharing conversations over a wall help us connect, enjoy the sunset and breathe the fresh air. I even taught her the English names of the birds we have around us.
We talk about our shared history of those curfew days in the 1970’s in the Rajang Valley and how resilient our elders and peers were. Such topics of conversations are very endearing and encouraging.
This is My Father’s World
Yes, fear is around us and in us. Our mental health suffers while a pandemic sweeps through our land. But the birds, the bees and the flowers around us, the vegetables we can grow, and the chickens we raise help us to realize that there can be order within chaos.
In my backyard I have two families of blue kingfisher to entertain me every morning and evening. We have an improvised bird bath (made from a rubber car tray).
When I watch the blue kingfishers flying around, showing me their brilliant blue feathers, I marvel at God’s wonderful creation. He is speaking to me when the birds wing up onto the graceful branches of the tree. He is telling me to be at peace when the birds frolic in the bird bath. He is telling me to be patient, when the birds call out to each other. As of to say, “Take time, be patient, listen to the bird call.”
Watching the kingfishers, I can hear the lyrics of the hymn “This is My Father’s World”.
This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.