The emotional chaos created by the COVID19 pandemic has touched each and everyone of us to the core. It has made us stop and re-evaluate our purpose, and the things that truly matter. Together, we have found differing paths toward a collective goal for how to quell the devastation. Every moment we are shaken with news of death and chaos. Literally, our lives have been turned up-side-down. It is hardly imaginable that anything good can come of binding turmoil.
Yet, there’s hope.
Our human reticence demonstrates our ability for shared kindness-a collective kindness that is stronger and more resilient than any virus.
As we gently contemplate our lives for the past few months, amidst the fear and uncertainty we have realized the ways we have all become better.
We have become kinder, because we are nicer, we feel each other’s emotions. We relate, because we are all in this together. The anxieties we feel, standing in the Costco line, at a measured distance, with masked faces, behind you, in front of you, we relate to each other’s eyes dancing with impatience, and fear. Being in the supermarket line for 30 minutes, is faster than we imagined.
We sense each other’s plight in a way that has created more empathetic human progress than the past century. We are aware of how small our global family really is.
Suddenly, we see, and greet those family members we took for granted, because they are in our presence all day. We now wonder if our elderly neighbors we are to busy to interact with, are doing okay. We understand how a coworker feels responding to email with a child in her lap, as we work remotely.
We seek to give gratitude for things we took for granted; being healthy, being safe, for having law and order, and for health care workers, putting the public first.
As parents grapple with their children’s technology overload, and online learning frustrations, there is a renewed appreciation for how technology has helped us through the pandemic to continue to educate our children with online schooling.
Our children’s creativity has flowed into crevices unforeseen before. Children and siblings have found new ways to play old games, and tell stories and interact face-to-face.
Stuck in-doors they invent “things to do” in ways we never thought possible, because we were always busy with extra-curricular activities outside the house. If it’s Face time, Zoom, Skype or email, they’ve kept in contact, nurturing relationships with grandparents, and families more than they ever have before.
There is a renewed appreciation for having small moments to cry together, meditate, call a friend, sip the coffee, sing with our children, watch the rabbits in the backyard, look up at the night sky, searching the stars for “Venus.” And as my little Emma has said to me “absorb the world around us.”
We reckon with the spiritual side of our lives, our health and our family’s health. We’ve turned to an external entity regardless of how we may label it, to help us understand the dynamics of life and death either from a religious or non-religious perspective.
Compelled to seek out answers and guidance, the summit of our realization is that: the only certainty in life is death. Even in the sorrow of death, online “wake sessions” make it possible to grieve lost ones.
Our souls have been nurtured with more time to cook, hopefully healthier, more time to exercise in between career obligations and housework. Unplanned family time, bonding and conversation is found by simply meeting up in the kitchen for snacks, and at the dinner table to eat during any given time of day.
Our human interdependence has brought a renewed appreciation for the roles and jobs that everyone in our society performs. We cannot sustain our homes and communities without the help of everyone else doing their part. We need each other.
We have become knowledgeable and creative with new found time to perhaps read a favorite book, paint, drawing, listen to music and write.
Our shelves, and closets are more organized, as boredom has a way of creating the mindless acts of “doing something.”
We walk more, drive less, appreciate nature even as parks close. Just outside our front doors and backyard, the trees blossoming, the grass growing, the weeds drying, the birds singing, nature resounds with life and freedom, the things we are preserving by staying home.
We feel the need to donate, give more and help each other, regardless of if it is more canned goods, boxes of cheerios, juice boxes, toys, the joy of giving and donating has become immeasurable.
We are better cooks, finally cracking open the cookbook and creating new recipes, baking treats and watching our kids enjoy them.
We grapple to connect late to our online meetings, podcasts, and official proceedings while balancing home, kids, work, and other obligations. Our bosses are more understanding, they get our struggles because they are experiencing the same thing too.
Isolation brings to the surface of our minds, experiences, memories, days, feelings, that we have not remembered for years; perhaps we reckon with unrealized sorrow, anger, or moments of happiness. Age old thoughts reconnect us with our past, and we appreciate our present and hope for the future.
Finally, without doubt, we realize that objects are objects, health is wealth, it is the unseen aspects of life that is the most valuable.
You cannot see kindness, but you feel it when you give it;
you hear it in a “thank you;”
you sense it in appreciation;
you see it in tears of gratitude;
you taste it in unsaid words,;
you smell it in the aroma it embeds in your psyche, for it imposes upon us, the understanding that the greatest acts of kindness are the ones we give without the recipient ever knowing.
Let’s be thankful for the kindness we’ve shown ourselves, and each other.
Renu Persaud author of The Mastery of You [email protected]