The Blessing Of COVID 19
We’re confined to our homes.
We’ve cancelled our appointments. There are no meetings. No classes to teach and no clients to see. No grabbing a quick lunch with a friend. No workouts at the gym. We are suddenly homeschoolers. Grocery shopping needs to be well planned so as to visit the market at just the perfect time to find the items we need.
Our life has a different reality today than it did just 2 weeks ago. Phrases have been coined and entered our vernacular. #flattenthecurve and #socialdistancing are the new norm. The future is vague. What will our lives be like in a month? In a year?
We begin to shift the way we do things. We’re becoming technology junkies, learning to navigate the Zoom landscape, relying on FB Livestream to reach our friends and connect to our communities.
It all feels very eerie. For a moment it feels nice to get a little break from the routine, but the next minute we’re missing it. When we focus on the stark economic challenges this epidemic presents to us personally, to our neighbors, our nation, and even the entire world, we feel scared. And then there’s the fear for our health, maybe even our lives, or that of our loved ones.
We are noticing some positive shifts in the landscape. Minimized traffic is influencing pollution levels in the air and making for cleaner waterways. When we take walks in our neighborhood we’re seeing families playing together in the yard, people that we’ve never seen before walking their dogs. We’re reaching out more to one another with smiles, sharing gestures of kindness and understanding. We’re starting to feel, on a very visceral level, that we really are all in this together. There is a connectedness, a coming together, a common feeling of community. We can easily empathize with our neighbors because they’re feeling the same myriad of emotions that we are.
We’re being made acutely aware of the discrepancy between the haves and the have nots. We understand better than ever how many people in this country are barely getting by, what a major financial impact not being able to go to work, even for just 2 weeks, will have on a family’s life. We are getting a clearer and clearer picture of how precarious lives are because of the injustices in our economic and political power structure.
Everything we’re going through is beginning to shift the experience of our own reality, shake out what’s really a priority and what is not. We feel fragile. We feel in awe of how big this is. It’s a little like the raw edge we feel when we go to a really amazing weekend retreat and come away feeling changed for the better, ready to make big, positive changes in the ways we navigate life.
In a retreat setting like that we walk away big eyed and bushy tailed, convinced that we are a changed person. Little by little we get back into the routines of our life and, it always happens, we settle back in to the way we always were.
Well, this pandemic is not a weekend retreat. We are in it for the long haul. Maybe it’s 2 months, maybe it’s 6 or 18. Some predict things will never get back to “normal”. As we move through the days, the weeks, the months, we are grooving new habits. We’ve seen things we can’t unsee, felt things we can’t unfeel.
I actually have great hopes for our future. I hope we are slowing down, becoming less selfish, more understanding. I hope we’re educating ourselves to all the many things that need righting in our society and that we’ll be primed and ready to take on some of these issues when we reach the other side. I hope we’re learning the importance of using our influence for the greater good and not just to move ourselves forward. I hope we’re recognizing inequality and oppression and how those things ripple out to cause harm in so many ways. I hope we’re realizing how precarious we are and that the way we’ve been living is simply not sustainable.
It is my hope that we will be forever changed by this new normal and that we will settle into a place of less commodification, more respect for our planet, a greater understanding of how our actions can either be an influence for the good, or send us back into a tailspin of destruction.
As we find our way through this crisis, I hope to look back and see that through the fear, through the hardship, through the uncertainty, we found a blessing.
My vision of the future is that we create a better life for ourselves and our communities, we find hope for our children, and we author a blueprint of healing for our planet. Rather than sink into the devastation, let’s embrace the blessing of COVID 19.
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