A Humbling Reality: Life During Coronavirus

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A policeman and pedestrians wear masks to help guard against the Coronavirus, in downtown Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. | Photo Credit: AP

SB Zaidi

Growing up in Houston, I’ve dealt with my fair share of flooding, tropical storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. Ask any Texan and most can recall a story about being stuck in some kind of flood, or being without power through a hurricane.

But I’ve never dealt with a virus – until now.

Living in Iran during the era of the coronavirus has been a challenging time. First it means understanding what this virus even is.

According to the World Health Organisation, coronaviruses (or COVID-19) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Now given that this virus is highly contagious, most of us have succumbed to self-quarantine. Schools have been off for more than a week already, and might be off for longer. People are avoiding going outside, and only venture out for the necessary errand.

At this time I’m very grateful for home grocery delivery. And my kids’ schools have started sending homework via WhatsApp and other messaging apps. My son’s teacher has started sending videos of herself giving math and Farsi lessons.

My own teachers are recording lectures and sending audio files via a class group. We also get sent homework, which we complete and send back to our teacher.

Given all the difficulties of our normal life coming to a standstill, it’s humbling to realise that some things are not in our control and how do we gain strength from trials in our lives and use them to grow and go forward.

Store owners are careful when dealing with customers. People walking around in masks and gloves. No one shaking hands after prayers at the local masjid. Everyone is just trying to be safe.

Our kids are also having to adjust to a very different school routine. But they’re making the best of it. And I have to say it’s a nice feeling to have breakfast together or bake more often, and to have our normal fast-paced life slow down a bit.

We have more time to talk, play, relax with each other, and not be so concerned with rushing off to bed.

Not to mention, spring cleaning came earlier this year. I’ve used the extra days to get a head start on organising and cleaning up.

Even when many in Qom might have thought to fly back home, flights started getting canceled and risks of being quarantined stopped many. I know I for one took that as an opportunity to hold tighter to my faith in God and His plans.

Aren’t we sometimes too quick to think we are in charge? Or that our plans can be made smoothly without so much as a hiccup?

While it is a test, but a beautiful one to realise that in this huge vast world we are but tiny players. Our connection is to a system far more greater than our small needs and wants.

And the beauty of submitting to the plans of Allah, and having faith that He knows what is better for us than that what we think for ourselves.

  • Author is writer, editor, wife, mother and a lifelong student in the pursuit of nearness with the Almighty

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