I’ve had my fair share of conversations in the past few months. I don’t think I am alone when I say that Covid-19 was kind of a buzzkill in my social life, but it was a season of beautiful conversations nonetheless, thanks to the world wide web!
I’ve been so blessed to be connected with friends around the world & I look forward to the day that someone creates a memoir of the Covid-19 times and stories.
I then realized, why don’t I make a start?
I decided to reach out to some friends to share their experiences during Covid-19. I asked them to share their stories in hopes that anyone reading this has their minds opened to the beautiful, sometimes ugly, but most importantly raw and human experiences from Covid-19. Consider this a spin-off/ inspired project from Humans of New York… Humans of Covid-19…
It was a shock to go from what seemed 100% to 0. Very soon, (before the end of the first day) I realized I had nothing to do. (This is also because I wasn’t able to go back home to the Netherlands so I literally had nothing to do). I didn’t want to just live life passively, in defence, I wanted to play offence! But I struggled to find purpose in my days. It was then that someone told me that we are not made to be productive, rather we are created to be fruitful! And that was the game-changer. It’s not my simple daily activities that changed (going for walks, calling friends, doing work, reading books, learning new things, praying), but it was my perspective that showed me life in a renewed way. I started to look for the fruits that this time is bringing forth and I found there are so many!
When Covid-19 broke out at a nursing home in Sydney, a majority of their nursing staff had to quarantine. A job advertisement for nurses to work there urgently was sent out. I thought that since I had hospital experience working with patients who had Covid-19 that I could use that experience to help the nursing home.
I asked God before every shift to show me how to love the residents at that nursing home. To teach me how to be the mediator for them and their family members who were worried for them.
It was a great blessing to be able to help in this way. To give peace to worried family members about their grandma, grandpa, mum, or dad. To pray with isolated residents who were dying. To keep residents company whilst in isolation because I was protected enough to do so. To hear the good news when they finally received their negative results. Each moment was a precious gift and I’m so grateful God opened the doors in my life to let this happen.
The idea of L’alto has been one brewing over the years through our own personal journeys in our faith. Across this time we have met a lot of individuals that helped us deepen our faith not only through the people they are but also through their creative works. So over the years, we have individually wanted to find a way to help spread their works further in hopes to inspire others who will see it too. It felt right to make the leap to start it now during this COVID period because we saw how volatile the landscape of work has been, and we wanted to help empower people who may have been affected by creating a space to showcase their works and hopefully earn some money on the side.
I personally dream for L’alto to not only be an online website but hopefully grow into a physical space. Space where Catholics can gather from all over to meet, collaborate, create, and just be in the presence of each other in a big creative space.
COVID-19 was definitely challenging for me personally, not being able to work in my normal career, as well as being somewhat of an extrovert, it was hard not being able to go out and cope with hardships the way I normally would. But I personally would not call this time a disruption, rather I feel this COVID-19 period has been a blessing in disguise. Although challenging, this time has allowed me to reconnect with myself, slow down, and reflect on things that are mean much more to me. If I’m being honest, without this time I feel L’alto would have been in the back burners as my focus would’ve been on other things.
We decided on an online marketplace because we want to connect with people not only from our country but around the world. With an online platform it gives us the biggest chance to really spread how great our vendor’s works are and bring more attention to their works, but also it gives us a bigger platform to showcase the beauty of being Catholic and especially the beauty of being a Catholic and evangelizing through the ‘ordinary things’
2020 is probably the hardest year that I’ve ever been hit with- and it has nothing to do with the quarantine (but it makes a good cover).
This is the first time, in a long time where I felt like I literally couldn’t see anything in front of me. All of my hopes for my vocation, discernment, mission… gone.
God has certainly used my suffering to get to know Him more.. and is teaching me that there is no other option but to retreat in Him. I’ve never grown more closer and relied on Him more – desired Him more.. but that’s how these things go I guess?
Every day I want to escape the next “devastating low” I will inevitably face in my day (morning, lunch… night… constant volleying throughout the day). I feel trapped, but all I know is that God is the one constant. He is the Truth, He is the only Way and He is everlasting light.
Ice cream helps.
St.Therese pray for me!
It’s been a heartbreaking year for the couples who had been preparing to get married in 2020. COVID-19 created uncertainty for weddings all around. It created a dystopian scenario where loved ones could not physically gather for a huge milestone in a couple’s life.
I remember falling into this deep sadness and envy when the uncertainty about my wedding grew. The idea that everyone I loved under one roof, for one day became an almost unattainable dream. COVID would assure my beloved relatives overseas would be unable to physically attend and with number restrictions, even my family here in Australia wouldn’t be able to be physically present. I was so jealous of every couple who got what they wanted for their wedding.
I had to accept these emotions I was feeling and understood that they weren’t the “be all” and “end all”. After I processed my sadness, with the help of my amazingly supportive family and friends, I had to actively teach my brain to be grateful. Reality is, COVID-19 stripped back the craziness of planning these minute details that could add to the beauty of the wedding day, but nothing to the beauty of the marriage.
We continued to plan as though the ceremony of the wedding was the only thing to take place on our original wedding date. This brought the preparations on the sacrament of marriage to the forefront, and the preparations for the reception to the background. I remember praying to God, not that I could have the wedding I always dreamed of, but the ability to accept the plan he had for me.
Full blog available here.
I work as a nurse in London. During the height of the pandemic, I was redeployed to work in the front line, in the Intensive Care Unit. I was scared for myself, but also for my family’s health, as I have a brother and my own mum working in healthcare also. In a short space of time, we have been forced to change our way of life drastically in order to prevent the spread of it. Until now so many things have been drawn to a halt and resulted in us taking a pause from our busy lives.
Driven with so much anxiety I went to each shift feeling worried, and would ask God’s guidance especially as I help these patients as they continue to fight against this disease. I believe that He was present in each encounter I faced. The unit felt like a battlefield. An example would be a patient who was critically ill and who was currently relying on machines to keep them alive, I saw some Rosary beads next to the patient’s bedside. I ended up pausing…I saw Christ. I saw His suffering, but also His strength and faith to His father. What inspired me the most was that the patient herself was a fellow nurse, who unfortunately has contracted the virus and was fighting for her life. She too was suffering but she was a servant of Christ and seeing her with this personal item, I was reminded by my own faith at that time. Was I entrusting everything to God during this time? Because of this, I faced the rest of the day with a promise, a promise to myself, to each patient I will look after and most importantly, to God that I will push through and try my hardest to provide the best care I can give. To do things with love, as He would (John 15:12).
Unfortunately a couple of days later, I started to develop symptoms of Covid-19 and had to take time off from work. I was due to work during the Easter Weekend, I found myself at home spending time with Christ despite not feeling very well through online masses and services. During my time in isolation, I have received the result that I tested positive for Covid-19. Instead of focusing on the negative and bringing myself down (as I normally would), I was grateful that I got to spend this time with the Lord and journeyed with Him through to His resurrection. His rising again gave me hope for the future of our world. I have never felt prouder to be a healthcare worker and I continue to pray for my fellow key-workers around the world. I have come to realize that my experience was an example like the disciples after Christ’s resurrection. In which they have journeyed from a time of fear to a time of faith and the Holy Spirit. I returned to work almost a month later, I am so grateful for His healing and for the life He has blessed me with.