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Be unitive, not divisive

By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, roycimagala@gmail.com
July 2, 2020

I DIDNíT realize that a joke video I shared sometime ago on social media would resonate with so many people. It was about a fellow who wondered why a wife rushed to cremate her husband when he only started to have a fever.

Some people told me that with couples under lockdown, some tension and conflict become unavoidable. ďThey know that their commitment to each other,Ē someone told me in jest, ďshould be Ďtill death do us part.í But it should not be 24/7 that they be together.Ē

Indeed, itís undeniable that seeing each other the whole day, let alone, for an indefinite number of days, can create friction. We are all notorious for that. We seem helpless before that tendency. But itís a challenge we have to face and learn to handle well. And the current quarantine dispensation is a good occasion to do that. We actually have a golden opportunity in our hands to learn something very precious.

I was just both amused and disturbed that in the social media these days, some funny conflicts and useless squabbling over unimportant matters are playing out. A young doctor, for example, bashes a public official over a matter of prudence about what proper steps and measures are supposed to be taken regarding our protection from the Covid, triggering a chain of similar reactions. And things like this seem to be sprouting in many places.

It cannot be denied that all this can be an effect of the unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation brought about by this quarantine thing. People become irritable. Egos get easily rubbed, especially if thereís some public image to protect and project. Patience gets over-stretched and becomes a costly commodity.

To a third party quite detached from the issues involved, it is clear that everyone has a point, except that the tone and manner of presenting and reacting to things get exaggerated. One overreacts to a view expressed by another person, and the person also overreacts in response. Itís like the Law of Talion being played out, and before you know it you have an explosive situation over something that is really nothing.

We have to learn to calm down, respecting each otherís opinions. We cannot avoid differences. Thatís part of being human. But letís not forget that at the end of the day we all are in the same boat. We have to care for one another. We float or sink depending on how we behave toward each other.

When we are sober, keeping our emotions under control, we can actually sort out our differences quite well. And even in those instances when our differences cannot be reconciled, we can always manage to disagree in an agreeable manner.

Letís make use of this Covid-caused quarantine lifestyle to learn to be more patient, more understanding and caring towards others. Yes, letís learn to be more humble, because all this useless quarrels are at bottom a matter of pride and vanity.

Letís learn how not to get tired seeing the same faces the whole day. In fact, letís be accepting of everybody, regardless of how one is, warts and all. Never allow critical thoughts and grudges to stay long in us. On the contrary, letís be ever creative and inventive in showing our love, concern, affection for everybody, being quick to understand and to forgive.

When we notice that we want to distance ourselves from someone, then it is a clear sign that we have a problem, and that problem has to be solved with Godís grace and our effort.

The same attitude should be kept when we are in some public discussion or engagement. We have to be careful with our emotions, and letís see to it that our humility is kept strong and vibrant especially when we are misunderstood or mistreated.

Our foremost concern is that we foster unity always, never allowing any signs of divisiveness to creep in, as much as possible!