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Finding Hope as We Look Forward to the Future

Finding Hope as We Look Forward to the Future

Parenting | May 10, 2021
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With more than a year since the ongoing pandemic, Michelle Aventajado and fellow parents share what they hope for in the years to come.

As a parent of a child who is differently abled, I have been blessed with the gift of perspective—one often sprinkled with a little bit of optimism. All throughout this journey, Nino and I have learned to develop patience and fortitude. We also continued to nurture ourselves and one another with compassion and empathy in those moments, most especially when #TeamGellibean needed it most.

Admittedly, the last few weeks have been quite challenging for our family. My social media pages have taken a turn, with many of the people I follow asking for prayers. Prayers for loved ones who are sick, or prayers for loved ones who have gone on to join Our Creator. The sense of loss can be overwhelming—juxtaposed against the immense gratitude we feel for our own health and blessings.

Languishing vs. Flourishing

In a recent NYT article by Adam Grant, he explained that we’re experiencing a plethora of complicated emotions because of extenuating circumstances in the current past and present. While it resonated with so many of my friends and followers on Facebook, I also realized how much we are all enduring, collectively, as people. Grant’s article reminded me that we are not alone in our feelings. And if we had the chance to talk about it with others, we would soon realize that we are more alike than different.

But is there hope beyond these feelings?

I really do believe there is something good to look forward to. I believe that if given the opportunity to do more, or to help one another, as Filipinos, we will. In fact, We do. We are. We have been ever since.

The Spirit of Giving

Bayanihan cannot be translated into a single word because it’s more than that. It’s more than camaraderie and the spirit of giving. It’s the collective understanding that we help one another. That we are in this together. From Community Food Pantries to collective compassion, and fundraisers for families who have been gravely affected by the virus, I’ve seen so much good. And it really does give me a feeling of hope that we will come out of this better. 

Again, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my hope or in my troubles. In fact, when I read through what some of my friends are hopeful for, the mutual feelings are evident. We know that something good will come out of all of this strife and loss. Although the lessons may have been painful, we definitely won’t take the gift of life and family for granted.

Remaining Hopeful Amid the Pandemic

This ongoing pandemic has taught us many things. It has taught us the importance of resilience, of compassion, and of empathy. Although there are trying times and bad days, there are also silver linings to look forward to. If anything, the pandemic has bred in us a newfound hope for better days to come. Thus, we can look forward to a future that is much brighter, where we come out of this stronger than ever.

I asked fellow parents what they have learned and hope for the future, and these are their stories:

1. Reliving Childhood Memories

“It has (been) a year since my daughter spent time with her grandparents and cousins. The last time she saw them was during the wedding of my brother in Bacolod. (Back then), we didn’t expect that it would be our last gathering in a such long time. (Since) she is an only child, it has been extremely difficult for her to be isolated from everyone. (Nevertheless), I am hopeful that soon, she will get to see everyone again.

I want her (to) play with her cousins and spend time with her grandparents. (For me), it is very important for her to have happy childhood memories.”

– Louren Chua-Sy, Haakaa Philippines

2. Infectious Love and Laughter

“After more than a year of being in the pandemic. I am really hopeful that the vaccine would really help us get back to the world we grew up in. A world where we can bond, hug freely. (A world where we) infect one another with love and happiness instead (being afraid) of infecting one another with a virus.

Instead of social distancing, I (hope) we can go the distance to explore the beauty around us. But as I wish to go back to that world again, I also wish and hope that we will never again take for granted the life that God has blessed us with. And (that we) appreciate today while we have it.” 

Betty Ching-Sy  of Amara Oils and Studio 11

3. Being Hopeful and Helpful with Compassion

“This pandemic has shown us that we really need each other and we need to help each other.

Amid the darkness and loss that we find ourselves in today, I hope that we will all get out of this with more compassion, empathy, and love for each other. (Thus, I too) hope that Luanne, Zoe, and I will learn to be more caring and loving of others. (Also, I hope we all become) more mindful of what is really important in life: family.”

– JR Santiago of Dadvocacy Community

4. Teaching Compassion to our Kiddos

“My biggest hope is that we emerge out of this pandemic—not only alive and well—but also more kind, more compassionate, and more loving. Like many, I believe this is happening to us for a reason, and there are lessons to learn (from this). It would be a shame if we did not (learn anything), and (just) went back to our usual ways.

In short, my biggest hope is for a better world—for us and for our children.”

Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo

5. Relationships and the Human Connection

“With the vaccine (finally rolling out), I am hopeful that (for) more moments of normalcy in the coming months.

Being able to share meals with friends with sanitizer and mask in open spaces, but with fewer restrictions; being able to return to school in person, even by a hybrid (arrangement); being able to travel (and) see family once again; being able to return to face-to-face activities and therapies for my children; being able to touch and hug people again—to commiserate and grieve at wakes… these are what I hope for and look forward to the most. 

I know things will not be the same as they were before. They cannot, (after all), not at least for a long while. But I hope that the year has deeply imprinted in our hearts and minds (the) relationships and issues that matter most. And (I hope) that we care for and keep them at the forefront of our lives.

(But overall), I hope we remember the practices that have kept us afloat this past year and incorporate them into our daily routine.”

Akiko Thomson Guevara, Executive Director for Special Olympics Pilipinas

6. Mindfulness and Accountability

“I am actually hopeful for the future, and how this time in our life has inspired many of us to go into a reflective mood and taught us to sit with stillness. With more time spent with family and with schedules freed up from distractions, many of us have learned to be mindful (and) to be accountable for our actions.

We have (also) seen the need to work together for the good of all. If this is what the pandemic has taught us, I can only see a better world from hereon.”

– Christine Dychaio of Spark Joy Ph

When navigating times of extreme challenges, a lot of us have learned to cling to our faith to get us through. When we put our faith over our fears, we can see that on the other side of all these lessons lies a tremendous amount of hope—that we can do better because we know better. That perhaps, putting back together what may have been broken, comes back even more beautiful—through the collective hope intertwined between us.

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Michelle Aventajado shares lessons learned through triumphs and challenges in motherhood, relationships, and life, as she raises four children ranging in age from nine to twenty-one. She believes that every trial presents an opportunity to learn, that her daughter Gelli is her greatest teacher, and that as a parent, it is important to instill in her children that they are part of something bigger. 1 Cor 13:13
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