By Carlos Martín Cinto, LCMHC, Catholic Charities NH:

             Being quarantined, I recently received a beautiful video through WhatsApp that started something like this: “There is an annual plant originally from Peru that for her to mature seeks to have the sun in front.” It came with beautiful photos of its flower, which is a great dish, with very colorful colors, and which produces the famous sunflower pipes and its oil. The interesting thing is that its flower, like a huge satellite dish, follows the sun daily on its way east to west. And the next morning she’s waiting for him again on its way out on the east. In Greek mythology, a nymph named Clytie followed the god Apollo daily from his palace to the west. She took root, turned into a sunflower, and thus follows his love every day.
Very nice, isn’t it? But right away, the impertinent question arises: what happens when it’s cloudy? It is said that the sunflower turns to their neighbor and they look at each other face-to-face. The love and energy they cannot receive from the sun are given and received by each other, teaching us in passing the importance of loving each other.
I count this because while it is true that COVID-19 is like a gigantic cloud that has isolated us from our source of life, so it is that the sunflower taught me that if we don’t have our usual life – if we can’t be in the sun – we have each other to remain being until it is camped. This pandemic, like a tremendous cloud, separates us from our routine and separates (or modifies) us from our work so that we are alone, behind a mask and with gloves so as not to touch us. In a way, he locks us up at home and forbids us from the street. For our sake, they tell us, but we find it hard to understand. And it does so on a planetary level. But it is in that lockdown, within that loneliness, that I decided to find others, connect with the members of my tribe. Because we humans are one tribe, no matter how hard it is for us to speak English and to them to speak Spanish. And to all speak Chinese, except to the Chinese. The differences seem huge, but they are of clothing, of the secondary. When the virus attacks, it attacks humanity, which we are all. And as a single organism, we respond, isolating ourselves in therapeutic quarantines. And that’s why we must imitate the sunflower and seek the face, love and energy of others and God. And for that, I have used and used as many resources as I can. I use the phone, use video calls, books, music, letters that today are emails or messages and social networks. And I grow and grow with those, with my people and with those who are added on the way, on this journey forced by the tremendous cloud, but which we guess will soon end. And then I will be as before, and very grateful for such good company, that has allowed me to spend this fear, endure this loneliness and remain being me, while the sun was hidden. Hispanics who are in the United States, seek the warmth, energy and love of others. And there’s no better way than to emulate a sunflower.