Alejandro Marius

Venezuela: "A human advantage”

He is in Caracas, with his four daughters. His wife got stuck in Spain when the pandemic broke out. He talks about his “struggle to get her back, but with the peace of mind of being able to live if that did not happen for a while.”
Alejandro Marius

"How can we face this circumstance as men and women?” Julián Carrón asked this in his letter to the movement. I had to live this circumstance in a new “role”, different to the one I usually have. I often travel around Europe for work. This time, however, at the outbreak of the pandemic, it was my wife, Alexandra, who was in Spain, whilst I was at home in Caracas with our four daughters.

I felt like I was in Mission impossible. I spent 48 hours without sleep, trying to understand what the best thing to do was and how Alexandra could come home to Venezuela, without putting her at risk, particularly because she already suffers from a chronic illness. We evaluated many options, even that of staying in Spain…Decisions were played out minute by minute, and it was an opportunity to experience that “yes” every moment, simply obeying the pressure of circumstances. How dizzying!

With his wife Alexandra

At first, I felt powerless at not being able to solve things. I judged everything with the help of friends, some of the movement and some new friends, as though they were “sent by God” to offer me advice or operational, concrete help (operational friendship that opens up reason and the heart). I realized that I have a great team working with me at "Trabajo y Persona", the NGO that I founded and which I direct, because I was able to delegate many responsibilities and they responded in an incredible way (aware that it is not because of me). I began to pray differently. I prayed for my wife, for our family, for our friends, for the whole world, and for me (to use reason and affection properly). I was grateful for everything that had been given to me so far and, strangely, for what was happening now and for how it was happening. I found myself praising God, because, even through this virus, He is showing us how much he loves our freedom.

Flights kept getting cancelled and every plan we put together was shattered. Until Alexandra was able to get to Santo Domingo, where she was supposed to make a stopover. But as soon as she landed, they suspended the flight to Caracas. We were spared nothing. That night, when we spoke on the phone, she could not hold back her tears, she was so tired and uncertain. We did not know what else to do. I told her that Christ would never leave us alone and I asked her to pray together, but she could not do it since she was crying. At that moment, I was overcome by a strange serenity. I kept looking for ways, contacting people in Santo Domingo, and we managed to get her settled in an isolated place, because in the meantime she had started to have some symptoms of the virus.

Miraculously, through friends and families of Venezuelan friends who live there, she got water, food, medicine, even an internet connection... She was even able to go to a clinic - on St. Joseph's day – where they tested her and where she also was examined for her illness (an examination that cannot be done in Venezuela). When we heard that the result of the swab test was negative, I could not hold back: it was the first time that my youngest daughter had ever seen me cry in an unstoppable way. At first, the girls looked at me thinking I was joking, but, in the end, like a child, I plunged into the arms of my daughters, who tried to comfort me.

How great is God, who allows all our humanity to blossom within the drama of our lives. How He loves our freedom and our smallness.

After a few days, my wife landed in Caracas on a humanitarian flight (unthinkable); then we tried to find a way to pick her up at the airport, despite the checkpoints, and bring her home safe and sound. A neighbour, who is out of the country, has an empty apartment on the same floor as us and lent it to us, so that Alexandra could quarantine near us.

If I look now at what happened, I realize that, at first, I was all caught up in "solving" the situation. But after Carrón's letter, I began to offer everything, including the possibility of not seeing her again for who knows how long. Attention towards the needs of my daughters, my work, helping the needs of our community by delivering medicines and food, connecting with friends in Italy and listening to their suffering…everything that might overwhelm me was acting within a Being. Ora et labora, literally.

The fact that the person who is the instrument of my vocation (my wife) was far away, at a time like this and already sick, was trivial to me. I do not believe in long-distance marriages and even less so if one of the spouses is not well. But having the "lord of the bakery" near, helped me to understand. Although in a premature way, I was beginning to rediscover the value of my vocation: if we could not be together, it was for our own good. The "unexpected advantage", which Carrón’s letter speaks about, became more evident. It is strange, I was struggling so that she could return home, but I was at peace.

Christ is truly a presence that allows me to look at my smallness, my anguish, my temporary separation from Alexandra, the management of the house, not being able to do my job... as occasions to relate to the meaning of my life. If not, being a Christian is an accessory, it is a consolation for these days of isolation.

The purpose of my life is not defined by me, I discover it in relation to everything that happens to me. And the "lord of the bakery" helps me to see everything better, so that I can make that journey myself.

Read also - "What prevails each morning"

After the first few days of quarantine, I returned to the question, "What saves me from nothingness?” I need a reality like that, a heart like that and friends who are a sign of His presence. But most of all, I understand that my life is a constant supplication. Before reciting the Angelus and Lauds wide awake, I pray still half asleep, as a very first gesture of supplication, because I want to give my whole life to Christ.