My favourite thing about this pandemic (if it is permissible to have a favourite thing about something terrible) is that we can be so close to each other virtually even while we keep our distance physically. There’s a camaraderie that comes from facing something scary together. Parents all over the world are trying to figure out how to effectively work from home while helping their kids do online school. We’re all dusting off those old yoga and home gym routines. People are taking out old recipes for cooking from scratch, dedicating time to creative projects, spending more time with the people who matter most.
In fact, I’d say that I’ve been feeling weirdly close to the human race lately. This virus demonstrates in a graphically uncomfortable way how connected we all are to each other, and how even small choices we make (washing your hands, anyone?) can literally save the lives not only of our neighbours, but of people across the world. We’ve certainly seen some of the worst of human nature coming out: hoarding, xenophobia, disregard for quarantine rules, etc. But we’ve also seen some of the best: people stepping up to shop for the vulnerable, health workers putting in heroic hours and efforts, and all those Italians out on their balconies serenading each other and the world.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
What will we do with the time that is given us? Let’s hold our loved ones a little closer (physically or virtually). Let’s take extra care for the vulnerable groups in our communities. Let’s give ourselves and each other grace when we fall hopelessly short at work or parenting or relationships (which we surely all will in the coming days). Let’s be scrupulous about keeping the rules that will get us through this crisis. Let’s allow our hearts to breathe out their fears and hopes and desires on paper or keyboard or sketchpad or crochet hook or however we do that best. And let’s get through it all together.
-Sarah Bringhurst Familia, Casteluzzo
Photograph courtesy of:Annie Spratt