e are in the middle of a global pandemic with thousands of people dying each day. The world has literally been turned upside down in a matter of days and weeks. Schools and businesses have been closed down in a frantic effort to contain and curb the spread of the killer virus Covid-19. People have been asked to practice “social distancing” and to stay away from gathering together in large groups. Many are stuck at home for the foreseeable future under a sort of voluntary quarantine. We are in unprecedented and historic times as a nation and as part of the global community. How we handle this time of seclusion and isolation will have generational consequences. Can we rise to the occasion and elevate to meet the urgency of the moment? Or, will we allow our fears, our disagreements, political leanings and the individual distinctions we have as people divide us to the point of our own destruction? In times of turbulence, it is often best to stop, take shelter, and wait for the storm to pass.
We live in a world full of distraction and endless activity, some of it necessary and some of it clearly insignificant. Sometimes we are so busy in our daily lives that we fail to connect with others on a basic human level. We are so busy, we cannot even see each other. We look beyond any real human contact and only deal with the task at hand, the “business” we have to complete. We recognize that we have a climate change crisis, but we don’t have the time to really SEE the earth that we are living on and the eco-system that supports our lives.
The one thing that has been sort of a silver lining in this world-wide crisis is that the entire world has been forced to STOP. We have all been forced to SEE that we are inextricably bound one to another. We have been made to LOOK at the world in which we are living and recognize how delicate the systems, the institutions, governments, near and far, are in the battle to fight a disease, a virus that indiscriminately attacks us regardless of race, age, or point of origin.
We have been forced to consider our own mortality and that of the people that we care most about. But beyond that, we have been compelled to spend extraordinary amounts of time with ourselves and the ones with whom we are in relationship. Although our workspaces may have been converted to “virtual space” with online work and study hours, the time we spend with our own thoughts, feelings and anxieties has been amplified by this pseudo solitary confinement. We have been forced onto close contact with our family members and other relations and it has exposed certain realities. At the same time, it has been an opportunity to strengthen the ties that bind and to reconcile with those who are closest to us.
These challenging times have taken us from a culture that relies upon “virtual” human contact and electronic devices to communicate with one another, to one that must now deal with its own inadequacies and inability to be alone and/or to inhabit the same space with our family members and/or our closest relations. We have been forced to spend time with each other, to talk with each other, and to explore our relationships and our own authenticity as human beings.
Hopefully, we will emerge from this experience transformed by it. Hopefully, we will not squander the opportunity to take in our common humanity. Hopefully, as we are forced to be STILL, we will begin to recognize and appreciate both our fragility and our deep need for one another, while at the same time, celebrate our strength and resiliency as individuals, as family, and as a community of nations that will survive this together.