"One who changes the instant”

Coronavirus in Perù, in the cancer wards. And then at home, among family members, thinking about friends and relatives in Spain and Venezuela. Silvia recounts "the path of holiness to which we are all called".

Our life in Perù has also changed because of the measures taken by the government to face the Coronavirus emergency. Measures that seem, simultaneously, so drastic and, yet, insufficient when faced with the severity of what is happening. We all see the pain, the helplessness, even more so when we think about our friends and relatives living in Italy, in Spain...

I have the possibility of seeing what is happening "outside" the home; I do not know if it is a privilege, but I can tell you about it. I am a doctor, and these days have worn me out both mentally and physically, although the situation here is not as bad as in other countries. And I cannot even imagine what is happening in Europe, in Asia. It seems unfair, even unreal.

In our country, the problem is very serious, even more so because of our weak health system, poverty, and the difficulty of understanding what is happening and of following instructions.

I do not work directly with those affected by the virus, but I try to protect "our" cancer patients: children and adults who are already frightened by their illness and cannot finish their treatment. Hanging on to the desire to be cured and to live, they run the risk of being infected. For them, the infection might be fatal. Even if it is difficult, we have to ask them to stay at home, "choosing" them according to the severity of their illness, the possibility of operating on them. It is difficult, but we cannot take care of everyone, because we would expose them to a very high risk, a greater risk than they are already exposed to because of their illness.

Many of them live far away from the hospital, they cannot make it to appointments, to their treatments, and even when they come, they cannot make it back, because they are too tired from walking two or three hours so not to miss their appointment or therapy. Some areas of the hospital have been set aside for them to sleep, and the same goes for the health workers, who are always here. Many could say, "I am sorry, I am leaving". But instead they stay, and they serve what is happening with all their humanity. I am used to seeing them everyday in the corridors, I would greet them as if I already knew about their work, but I could not imagine that they could be so "stuck" in what they have to do, cleaning the floor, assisting a patient, administering a cure, even taking medicines to homes.

We do not know who is positive or not here, so if anyone on the watch team has symptoms, everyone goes into quarantine. That is why we have tight shifts, so we do not get infected. And our hospital is one of the best equipped: in the others, the situation is much more complex. We continue to get together and discuss with the bosses, because what happens is unpredictable. I am in charge of various departments and I have a large team that allows work to continue well. But is that enough?

We have a protocol to protect ourselves, get dressed, go home and change in the garage so we do not contaminate our families... It seems as though distance from the things you love takes you away, but instead it puts you in the right place, to look at what you desire most from a better perspective, or the details you did not see.

In these moments of tension, that is, of attention, I have perceived many details through which I am experiencing that the more you look (and, therefore, welcome), the more you let yourself be surprised and hurt, the more you enter into the depths of the meaning of things. We remain calm, not anymore. And you "search" like a child who, when he discovers something, wants to tell his mother about it. It moves me to write this, because I think it is the same for everyone. The instant changes, it is good, it becomes your ally, the more you discover its meaning: Jesus. And, therefore, the companionship of His, and my, friends.

Being at work or at home is a beautiful possibility to embark upon this journey: we think we are doing little, that our actions are fragile, inconsistent, useless. And it is a great temptation to think so. But the smallest gesture is a relationship with the good Jesus. It is a journey of holiness to which we are all called, as the book The Way of a Pilgrim says, that every beat of his heart coincided with saying: "Lord, have mercy"... How can I not desire this sweet melody in my life? And when I desire it, I think of my friends. The Mystery’s unity with me coincides with my unity with them.

I think of my sister, who has lived in Madrid for many years. She and her husband have been in solitary confinement for two weeks because, based on their symptoms, they were told that they could be positive, but that there is nothing more to be done. And I think about my husband's family, in Venezuela, where there is already a great economic crisis and where they have now closed roads and, therefore, cut off the distribution of food. And places where there is no data about contagion: it is all immensely uncertain. I have in mind the time when Fr. Giussani said that your sacrifice saves a person on the other side of the world. With these two facts in my eyes, I give and wish to give my life where I am, wherever I am.

Read also - Enrico's discoveries

What gratitude to have a home, a companionship, a friend who sends you an audio message or writes you a letter in which nothing is done away, like Fr. Carrón's letter to the movement. When he talks about the miracle of the loaves, for example: the disciples had the "bakery" in front of their eyes and did not understand it. It is not a problem of being alone because we are not, but of recognizing who He is. So the smallest and clumsiest gesture is a sign of salvation, of His victory.

Silvia, Lima, Peru