Enrico's discoveries

Work in a hospice in Florida, life at home, away from Italy. And the lockdown, between anxiety caused by the news and the discovery of a certainty without which everything is just "a burden in my heart".

A couple months ago, I moved from Miami to Gainesville, Northern Florida. This morning, The Alligator, one of the local newspapers, reported that, so far, 60 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Alachua County, in which Gainesville is situated. One person died a few days ago from the virus.

Here, many people still go to work everyday, those who can work from home, and you try to stay at home as much as possible. I work in a hospice, and I visit home patients regularly. Schools have closed, as have many offices, and the Bishop has suspended public masses. Toilet paper has disappeared from supermarket shelves, you no longer shake hands and you receive hundreds of videos, everyday, on Whatsapp.

There are three of us at home. This morning, we watched the Bishop's mass via live streaming, then we spent time washing and ironing clothes. We live in a spacious house in the middle of nature: wisteria is in bloom, medlars ripen on the branches, birds sing and squirrels chase each other jumping from tree to tree.

We read the newspapers every day and at dinner we talk about the situation, what Trump has said or the consequences of the crisis for the country. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we have a heated discussion. Naturally, a lot of things worry us and we are anxious for this to end soon.

Coming from Northern Italy, listening and reading the news is perhaps the hardest experience of all, because all three of us come from there.

These are the circumstances given to us to live here. Contradictions, I would say, between anxiety caused by the news and relaxation smoking a cigarette in the open air, between fear of contaminating the patients I visit and gratitude for having the opportunity to share with them a piece of the journey of this earthly life.

Let me mention a couple of discoveries I have made so far. The first was the result of my mother's hospitalization, who, however, returned home three days ago and is well. Along with Fr. Rich, a priest of the movement here in Florida, and others, I was reading the chapter on hope in Fr. Giussani’s Is it Possible to Live this Way?: "Hope is a certainty in the future in virtue of a reality that is present". I asked myself if I have this certainty, and I realized that I was looking at what was happening to my mother without hope. The instinct to protect her and the desire that she be spared this sacrifice had not become a certain question, but only left a burden in my heart. So, I began to ask, entrusting my mother, my family and myself to Jesus. I rediscovered that I am in relationship with the Mystery, and that I can live everything with passion and joy in this relationship. I discovered that if there is one thing that I desire more than anything else for my mother, it is the certainty of this relationship with the Mystery that makes her and that loves her infinitely.

Read also - "The yes that saves the world"

I only mention briefly my second "discovery", because it is a work in progress: it is nice to realize that we are all part of the same human community that is the world. It seems to me that the Christian faith not only does not separate us from the world, but makes us perceive the relationship with everyone as decisive. And it makes us realize the beauty we see in others, the generosity, the human fraternity wherever it exists.

Henry, Gainesville, United States