COVID-19 brings clarity to what is important

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Dante Smith, a student at San Joaquin Delta College, at New Windsor, New York in February 2020. He looks forward to getting together with people to study the Bible once it is safe to do so. Photograph courtesy of Dante Smith.

I interviewed Dante Smith, one of my friends with whom I study with, and wanted to know what he thinks of life during COVID-19 pandemic. Life clearly has not been the same since the outbreak and its accompanying stay-at-home protocols, with people experiencing different things both at home and with life in general.

I asked Smith what he feels about the global pandemic we are living through.

“Before the pandemic, everyone’s kind of living a busy lifestyle — here and there, very fast paced, very quick. Even with your loved ones, it’s not necessarily sincere. So, most of the things you say, ‘oh, when can I see you,’ or ‘be around you…’ but through this pandemic it kind of puts you right back to your family and puts you close to them to spend quality time with and to focus what’s more important in life which is those who are around you,” Smith said.

Smith is religious. He studies the Bible regularly and has given him comfort and hope during these times.

“During this time [the Bible has given me comfort] because it allows me to catch up to more reading; do more studies with those who are around me; knowing that you’re not the only one thinking about how you’re being at this moment. I’m sure there are other videos of people that think the same thing I’m thinking, but being able to connect with those people that have the same mindset is a lot more comforting because you know you’re not the only one thinking about why this is happening or why this is taking place,” Smith said.

Smith, with the current situation, has time to speak to his friends and families and be able to get closer to them, but is worried about his grandparents. He says that the most challenging part is knowing his grandparents’ health can be severely damaged due to the coronavirus.

“Since they’re a targeted age group, during this pandemic, it’s kind of hard for me not really want to go visit my grandparents out of town, but I don’t want to put them in danger,” Smith said.

Communication is ever so important. Families like mine are having to be closer because of necessities that we require (such as toilet paper, water, food, and other supplies). Smith has opportunities to speak to his old friends, as they catch up on some stuff.

 “I was able to talk to a lot of old friends. Everyone’s kind of checking up on each other. We didn’t have time to do that. Those times you can cherish a lot because now you get a chance to speak with them,” Smith said. “Honestly, the conversations and short times that are spent just kind of catching up on everyone.”

What would you do if quarantine were to end tomorrow? Would you get together with friends and family? Or would you stay at home following the same routine when the virus was at large?

Smith has an answer to that.

“I would like to get everyone together and then have the big Bible studies like we had before,” he said. “Doing one-on-one is good, but it’s good when you have people around you . . .  that are thinking about the same thing.”