COVID-19 redefines gratitude

Robert Labayen

Posted at Apr 21 2020 05:44 AM

Although I have said “grateful for every new day” before, there were many mornings when the first things I thought about were my usual worries.

When the virus started infecting people in my circle, waking up healthy has become a celebration.

When I wake up early enough, I sit on the couch from where I can see the morning sunshine through a big window (See picture.) This is the couch where I spent so many sleepless nights in 2014 screaming inside because of an insomnia problem that drove me on a downward spiral to depression and anxiety.

Thankfully, I have been cured and have even written a book about it.*

Before Covid-19 came to the world, there were several mornings when I sat on this couch praising God for every night of good sleep. I would recall my days and nights in agony and compare them with my new mornings of joy. In those mornings I would be in awe of God’s amazingly intricate universe which is as endless as his goodness.

During these days of the corona, I sit on the same spot on the couch upon waking up. I take deep breaths, appreciating my lungs like I have never appreciated them before. I appreciate my heartbeat, my limbs, all my five senses as though I have never been aware of their existence before. I am thankful for another day to appreciate all my loved ones and all my blessings.

I recently turned 59. I had a friend who just turned 60. A very good person. Brilliant but humble. He deserved the beautiful retirement he planned: half of every year in a sunny country where he had properties and half of the year in the Philippines. His dream will never come true. He passed away because of pneumonia. There are two other gentlemen about my age who always messaged me on Facebook, admiring my magic tricks and jokes. They looked so vibrant. I didn’t know my fanbase would suddenly be reduced by two.

Some mornings in this contagion season do deliver good news. Like, for example, I have two friends who have already recovered from Covid and one who is just waiting for another negative test. 

In the future, I may wake up rich or I may wake up poor, I may be famous or I may be obscure. It will not matter. I will say “grateful for every new day” like never before.

*Sleep Again: How I Easily Cured My Insomnia by Robert Labayen, downloadable from Amazon at $4 or P208.


Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.