Immunity has been the battle cry against new coronavirus. We have to boost our immune system to avoid it. And so, we tend to do anything and to follow any advice, including ridiculous ones, as to whatever is helpful for the sake of prevention – vitamin C overload, cups of “salabat” (ginger tea), a bunch of “saba” bananas, soaking by sunlight, and lately — “tuob”, etc. In simple terms, to become immune means to resist and to be defended from any harm or hurt. But there is yet another form of immunity that we seemingly are not aware of – numbness. If you do not want to be harmed nor be hurt, perhaps to be feeling nothing will just help. By chance, can numbness be considered as strength in disguise? Yung wala ka nang nararamdaman; yung immune ka na sa mga nangyayari sayo. It does not hurt anymore. Or, I don’t care if it will harm me at all.

Malacañang is due to announce again decision on quarantine measures. ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ, or whatchamacallit? To be downgraded or to be upgraded? Who cares now after 100 days (and counting) of being abnormal? To survive is all there is for an option. We have already been made immune to it – to an abnormal life. But not immune from getting infected, just yet. Soon, hopefully. Meanwhile, it pays to be numbed.

Numbed is “nasanay na”. Some difficult things in life is just a matter of getting used to it. After being repeatedly exposed to the same situation over and over again the stimulus decreases. The threshold of pain is likewise enhanced. In a manner that is rather drastic, dentists numb gums first so as not to feel the pain of extraction. In so doing, there is no more pain; only sounds of clanking of nippers and all. It can get boring, procedurally. From the emotional realm, it is not uncommon that people would blurt, “Sanay na akong masaktan… I can move on, but in a while though.”

Numbed could also be “nagsawa na.” If “nasanay na” somehow appears receptive yet to incitement, “nagsawa na” contrives to do away it. Simply, it is just too much, sickening and damn tiring. As such, it should get expectorated. Revolting is the blame-game amidst crisis. Appalling it is when the ones who pledged to serve and to sacrifice for the country are themselves in the whodunnits. And if up until now, we have remained hardheaded and hard-hearted even when poverty is prevalent and corruption is widespread, we ourselves have also become “nakakasawa na”. Immunity thus become insensitivity. Conscience calloused.

But there is also that sort of numbness that is not necessarily negative. It turns out to be a blessing or as a grace – to feel nothing despite crisis. Even, to feel confidently different amidst pain. Strange as it would seem but it is definitely for real. For instance, there are times when over certain situations you somehow expect to feel ill, upset, grief, and the like. Voila, it did not materialize. It must be a case of too much presumption on the natural course of happenstance. Yet, grace superseded. God took over. God put a shield on you. Hence, instead of being expectedly weak, strengthened; in place of feeling devastated, assured in hope; rather than being depressed, confident in love. Immunity in this sense is no longer just being numbed. It has transformed into becoming blessed.

Tragedy struck a family. A young man, promising and charming, met an accident leaving loved ones and a girlfriend devastated. Needless to say, it was the mother whom you could describe as beyond description of anything painful. In the funeral, everybody was focused on her. Preparing anything for what was expectable. Accordingly, bottled water, wheelchair, blood pressure monitor, spirit of ammonia, among others. But lo and behold, to everybody’s subdued delight, the mother went through and came out astonishingly well and composed. She humbly acknowledged, “It was your prayers for me, Father.. and the many loves people accorded to my son that make me strong.” Is that numbed? Or, simply blessed?


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