It has been beyond surreal; weeks and weeks of social distancing and for many, total isolation, including many elderly and those living alone. The inability to hug someone, just hold someone in your arms, has been more than most can bear. Touch is so essential to humanity; it’s the definitive form of connection, the way we express friendship, tenderness, understanding, compassion, love, forgiveness, loss, grief and humility. We been drown out by the darkest of forces, the thunderous cloud of fear and panic have stolen all reason from once reasonable people and divided us like lepers in the land of milk and honey. The shadows of evil and ignorance have invaded the place where peace begot contentment, where sleep begot renewal and money, for many, was already in short supply.
While I would love to lift you with a soliloquy of magical words and beautiful thoughts, I’d rather enlighten you with what to me, seems obvious. There are more lessons in this worldwide pandemic than are found in all the great libraries of the world. The most important is this: whether the Coronavirus originated in a lab or China’s notorious wet markets, where animals are tortured and kept in abhorrent conditions, sold for profit and consumed as food, matters not. Asian countries, partly due to tradition and partially due to ignorance, a total lack of compassion and greed, are nature’s predators often killing more wild animals than they can sell or consume, before rot sets in. When it comes to the humane slaughter of animals, our society has evolved over the years but in many cultures it has not. I’ve tried in vain for years to convince the farm family I stay with every year in Austria, to treat their milk cows better, for more than twenty-five years, to no avail.
Many countries have fared pretty well through this pandemic and have been able to keep the death toll low while other countries, including America, have failed miserably at preparedness. It goes without saying, that the systems of the world must be assessed and revised for future events like these. For world governments, the lessons are obvious and I am sure effective change will come from this disaster. However, the human toll has been great and the psychological, emotional and sociological aspects which have emerged are endless. They are lessons that should be seared into the heart and soul of every human being in the world. They should be taught in schools so generations to come know how to face the future, if mankind fails to change their ways.
The wise will embrace the pain, the lowliness, the loss, the sheer loneliness and the hardship of grieving the dead and dying alone. Embrace the short food and paper product supply, rationing funds to ensure you can pay your rent or mortgage. Embrace the shadow cast over the imperfect and now weakened health care system. Embrace the magnifying glass highlighting how lame and inept the United States government, particularly the Trump administration is. Embrace the chaos, misinformation, right winging it tactics and the lack of equality and leadership in the White House. Embrace the awful, the sad, the hungry, the homeless, the elderly, the health care workers, the doctors, the nurses, the morgue workers, the public servants, the governors, all struggling on levels I cannot fathom. Embrace it all and remember it, embed it deep into your consciousness so you never forget this pandemic and the lessons it is trying to shine a light on. Recognize the good that is born from the bad.
We’ve seen amazing leadership in so many Governors across America and in other leaders worldwide. We’ve witnessed health professionals, doctors and nurses sacrifice their own health, families and lives to help strangers. We’ve watched grocery workers and truckers sacrifice their lives to ensure you have food. The post office and waste disposal companies and other essential workers have continued to deliver mail, pick up trash and have kept grocery stores, hardware stores and restaurants alive. I was in France during a waste disposal strike one time and believe me when I tell you, it could have gotten so much worse. We’ve watched good people who have little, give of their lot to help neighbors, neighbors helping the elderly and vulnerable in their own communities. Heroes have emerged out of the fire of disease and isolation. And I cannot fail to mention the incredible creative, artistic and unique videos and music that was born from boredom. We’ve watched the world become fashion designers cleverly making masks, some so beautiful they should be considered art. We’ve witnessed the sorrow and the resilience week after week and have felt the hardship of those who’ve lost loved ones in the battle as they die in the thousands.
Our hearts have grown and expanded beyond color or creed. Our capacity to love has increased exponentially. Compassion and concern for the lives of strangers has been on full display and ordinary citizens have taken up the mantle of extraordinary. Challenged by social distancing, we’ve learned how to love in unique ways. We’ve become incredibly creative, even offering our gifts and talents for respite from the heartache of watching more than 41,000 die in America, more than 168,000 worldwide as the world markets and jobs plummet.
Americans and human beings in general have always been resilient but this time it’s different than after the Depression or the horrific events of 9/11. This time everyone is at risk, every person alive has something or someone to lose. Coronavirus has placed us in a very extraordinary position where no one can turn their head away or dismiss it as someone else’s problem. It’s OUR problem, humanity’s problem. We are at a precipice where the majority of humans are figuring out that we actually DO need each other, if for nothing more than a simple hug. Tragedy always leads to evolution and hopefully this time humans will remember, long after this virus passes and before the next pandemic occurs, that we really are ALL in this together. Hopefully people have finally seen the light, as cliché as it sounds, that we truly are one. Humanity runs akin to a gigantic ocean where one drop causes ripples and swells and waves to crash against the breakers.
More artificial intelligence
More personal greenhouses
More building your own immune system
More quantum physics
More people getting their will and affairs in order in case of death
More voting for candidates who have YOUR best interest in mind instead of their own.
More love worldwide.
These are the lessons Coronavirus will continue to teach us for generations to come, with any luck at all.