As I write this I am fielding texts from friends showing empty shelves in Costco, tourist free Italy, and makeshift hand sanitizer which is 10% alcohol, 90% glitter. I am scanning headlines which predict that many of our loved ones will die before their time, messages urging millennials to think about the safety of their elders, and a non-masked dictator (Kim Jong Il—is that really his last name?) threatening dire consequences if any virus dares to cross the border.
Oh, how humbled we all are by this invisible threat to our most prized possession. Not our Wall Street assets, although those are bouncing on a dizzying trampoline caused by this pandemic. Not our multiple properties in various countries, which now have been mostly shut down. But by our sudden focus on the lack we have all evidently secretly feared—the sudden shortage of toilet paper.
It’s not what goes into us, but what comes out of us, and what to do with THAT, which is causing the rush in supermarkets. I went into an Office Max here locally in San Diego and was told that some government official from Los Angeles had driven down and purchased all the toilet paper as well as hand sanitizer “to ship to Washington DC.” The worker telling me this shrugged her shoulders. A raid from the government for the government on short supplies. Hmmmm.
All of this has to cause each of us some time for reflection. Suddenly hugs and handshakes, even elbow bumps and toe to heel acknowledgement of the friendly “other” has become taboo.
In this time of mandatory “social distancing” perhaps we can learn one thing.
And that is this. We need each other. We are a species that loves to congregate, cuddle, cheer.
We seem to not only be touching our own faces constantly (5-35 times per hour in one article), but we long to touch one another.
In an age where many of our leaders preach rugged individualism, how do we overcome the truth that we are all in this together. Age, status, wealth, location, race, gender, even geography cannot protect us when a germ spread by air comes a calling.
Whatever has caused this, and whatever will fix this, suddenly one thing is true.
We are all being called to be still.
Maybe it is time to power down and reboot our social structures, but this time with new priorities. In the midst of chaos comes opportunity, and this represents a huge opportunity for us all. Health is the true wealth. We must work together to ensure it for all.
Maybe its time to not only clean our countertops and wipe down everything we touch, but also do the same for our discourse, our conversation, what comes out of our mouths.
Maybe it is time to stop flooding the world with tourists upending the balance of nature, but also to take stock of the beauty that is all around us, no matter where we live.
Maybe it is time to stop climbing the ladder to success and get back to the reality of taking care of our land, our elders, and the least among us.
Maybe it is time to stop looking at the world through man made maps and borders, and see it for what it really is from the sky—a fragile blue living breathing entity, circling through a space we did not create and cannot begin to fathom.
Just as our own lives. It is time again, to look beyond this world in wonder, in humility, and gratitude—for all that has been, and all that is yet to be. Even when we can’t see it.
Purell. Short supply. Desperately needed. What would it look like to clean up our language, our thoughts and our hearts, as well as things we touch on the surface?
What if we let our actions be a reflection of the nobility that lies within us, believing that is the only legacy that lasts…
And what if, maybe then, we would be truly healed?
Love in the time of COVID-19. May we learn from this.
Live.. Breathe.. Joy.. ~ Laurie Beth