Lenten Season reminds me of quiet childhood afternoons; when Mama would tell us no to run or jump around because ‘you will kick Jesus’ head if you jump,‘ or ‘don’t run and get any wounds on Black Friday, they’ll never heal.’
Me being the obedient child, would not do anything except nibble on the seasonal fruits on our table, singkamas, or Indian mangoes, and watch those medieval biblical movies long before the release of the film The Passion of the Christ.
Every year, a TV channel would stream The Ten Commandments, usually in the afternoons. I would find myself sitting on our wooden bench; my still straight, shoulder-length jet-black hair gently sways with the warm air blown by the electric fan. A good morning towel would be inside my sando to absorb my back sweat. The heat coming from the iron roof makes everyone feel sleepy, but I would have my eyes wide, watching this Biblical hero in his long red cloak as he led the Hebrews out of Egypt. Moses that is.
I haven’t thought of Moses until recently. So, I opened Exodus and read about him. The 1956 film suddenly flooded in my memories, as if I was once again that kid, watching the movie on a warm summer afternoon.
In the movie, Moses turned his staff into a snake, turned water into blood, and executed miracles in front of the Pharaohs. Then came the plague of boils and darkness and plague on first-borns (if they don’t paint your doors with blood).
So, wait a minute.
Isn’t this all too familiar?
Isn’t the past year similar to Moses’ time? Aren’t we experiencing the same plague now? Sickness, darkness, and death. It’s all too similar. It’s giving me goosebumps.
The Hebrews had Moses take them out from all these plagues and the Egyptian reigns. Every year, I rooted for the Hebrews. Their grand exit excited me all the time when Moses would miraculously split the sea into two, so they can all cross over. I would always get nervous whenever the chariots are almost catching up on them and would feel triumphant when the last person gets into safety and Moses waves his staff and the sea goes back into its usual place and drowns all the soldiers who pursued them.
But who is our Moses at this time? We don’t have. We don’t have someone physically here to save us. We only have our faiths to cling to, as well as our high hopes, that we will also have our own ‘great exit’ from this plague, soon.
It is excruciating. A year seems like a century already. I sometimes feel angry, if not hopeless, because of the situation. It’s a lockdown in Manila again. I couldn’t go home because the visa process is too slow because of, guess what? I’m guessing that your guess is right.
I can’t wait for that moment that the sea splits up for all of us to cross the seabed and walk over to the other side. I can’t wait to see this pandemic year drowning into the sea as it tries to catch up on us. I can’t wait.
But waiting is a test—a test of our patience and our attitude while we are locked up, in our own tiny worlds. I don’t want to be like those Hebrews whom Moses saved from Egypt but couldn’t wait for him to come down from Mount Sinai and started creating golden calves as idols and worshipped them like gods.
So I am keeping my cool. And I’m praying for patience and strength until the world gets better until the world takes the grand exit from this pandemic.