These are very surreal times. Here I am looking out my office window at crystal clear water, a gentle breeze, and a couple of curly tail lizards playing in the sun while a news feed comes across my computer screen telling me that our President estimates that a quarter of a million Americans will die as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Neither our parents nor our grandparents ever experienced this type of situation.
I am not supposed to leave my home except for necessities when I do venture out I am advised to wear a mask, and when I return I am to wash my hands with soap and hot water and change and wash my clothes. Even knowing those restrictions, for some reason I don’t feel as though my life, or our lives, are in danger of falling to this virus.
Why is that? Do we need to see dead bodies in the streets or destroyed buildings downtown before we fear for our lives or those of our loved ones? Do we need to hear sirens warning us of danger before we cringe? Why aren’t we terrified, or at least somewhat afraid?
Maybe we would feel differently if we lived in a densely populated community where there was no choice but to interact with our neighbors, where our transportation involved jamming too many bodies in subway tubes, and where people waited in unending lines for food or medications. Maybe we would fear for our health and lives because we could not avoid the interaction with hundreds or thousands of other citizens.
Our world may never (hopefully) experience this dire a situation again, yet some of us don’t feel the sense of panic that we probably should if we are to survive. Sure, millions will be fortunate enough to survive without heeding the recommendations of our health organizations because of where, and how, we live, but let us not forget that one slip, one cough, one-touch and we could be gone forever. Is it worth the risk?
The physical, emotional and financial devastation of the coronavirus is immeasurable and will be for some time. Also alarming are some of the stories coming out of China regarding the origins of the virus.
One story is that China invited thousands of people, domestic and foreign, to attend events in Wuhan at a time when the virus was known to be running rampant. There is no proof one way or another whether this was coincidental or intentional. When the events concluded, the attendees dispersed to their home countries, carrying the virus with them.
Not too long thereafter, the growth in cases of the virus in China suddenly subsided and a few weeks thereafter the Chinese government spoke about how the virus had peaked and was no longer the risk originally feared. If this news was accurate, it almost sounds like China knew what was coming, was prepared to treat it, and subsequently brought the growth of the disease to a virtual halt. How did they know it was coming, how did they know how to treat it, and how were they aware of how to stop its spread? Maybe they caused it or maybe they are good at identifying and stemming the spread of new viruses.
If spreading the virus was intentional, to what end? Did China believe that disrupting the economies and lives of competing countries would give it an edge globally at a time when its own economy was faltering because it was not built on a strong foundation?
Of further concern are the later stories about how China stopped the escalation of the disease. One horrifying story said that the government stopped reporting the spread of the virus in the Wuhan region and sent the dead or nearly dead to the incinerators.
We will probably never know the truth about these matters, but if only a particle of these stories is true, we need to worry about the future of the human race, at least in certain parts of the world.
We Need To Make Certain That Some
Good Comes Out Of This Crisis
It is almost impossible to imagine any good being derived from the current coronavirus pandemic. People are dying from the disease, families are being torn apart, unemployment is soaring, businesses of all sorts are closing, cities and states are ordering their citizens to “shelter in place,” students are attending remote schooling, and so on. How is there even a glimmer of good in all of this?
Perhaps there is one result from all these negatives that can have a positive effect on our country, and even the world. Maybe we can regain so many good aspects of our personal and business lives that we feared were lost for good.
Having a meal the other evening, I noticed at other tables that people were talking and not staring at their cell phones. Sure, the conversations were about the virus and various store closings, but at least we were talking to each other and not losing our eyesight over social (it should be called anti-social) media. We can learn so much from conversations with our families and friends, much more than from playing games or sharing photos with those who may or may not be real friends.
Maybe this can be sustained and even elevated to the point where family dinners return as the norm and there is positive conversation during those dinners. Maybe we can learn not just about what our kids have done the past couple of days, but what they are thinking about things like school, friends, a career, and much, much more.
With remote teaching, our kids and grandchildren will have to adapt to this new way of life and learning. This could go a long way to helping them achieve self-sufficient lives and not always relying on parents, teachers, and others to do things for them…including thinking.
With people communicating with one another, there won’t be as much time available for fake entertainment in the form of movies, made-up themed events, and watching hours of sporting contests. There’s only one thing better than a good football game, and that’s having good conversation with family or friends.
Let’s become a country of people who are “doers” instead of “wanters” and “takers.” And, let’s recognize what’s really important again, such as taking care of the elderly and not leaving them alone to figure out how to survive in this rapidly changing and, to them, unrecognizable world.
And, we should demand that the government rectify its terrible mistake of the past and bring back the pharmaceutical industry to our shores as well as all the other companies that were pushed offshore for specious reasons. We should never put the health of our country and the future of its people in the hands of those who may one day become our adversaries. What in the world were they thinking?
So, please let’s not suffer through these trying times without learning the lessons that accompany them. We will be stronger as a people and as a country when we put the coronavirus in the rearview mirror.
I don’t mean to be repetitious, but the following was sent by a principal in Port Jefferson to his staff and it worth reading:
What is truly important?
- Reconnecting with family and community.
- Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.
- Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.
- Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time).
- Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.
- An invitation to turn inwards – a deep meditation – rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe.
- To reconnect with self – what is really important to me?
There is a shift underway in our society – what if it is one that is favorable for us?
What if this virus in an ally in our evolution?
In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/more kind to our environment.
An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution.
It was time for a change, we all knew that.
And, change has arrived.