March 23, 2020
Pandemic feels like a combination of pandemonium and panic both in its spelling and in the current reality. But even during these unprecedented times we are seeing signs of positive change.
The increased and widespread use of technology might help improve both our environment and our quality of life. The absence of our usual ways of passing time may be developing a renewed appreciation for things we have taken for granted: a walk in the park; fresh air; creative investments in friendships; a better or real sense of what it means to be a part of a community; and the eternal truth that the soul is nourished from giving not receiving.
In the last weeks we have observed on a global scale the sacrifices being made by doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, people who provide basic services. They are all critical to society. What good are all the riches of the world if you do not have your basic health? Charity is abundantly visible across the planet as we make sacrifices to protect the weak and the elderly. Our concerted actions taken right now are done out of love not economic gain.
There are countless examples around the world of people helping distribute food and medicine to those who cannot get out of their homes, or efforts to help those whose businesses are failing, such as restaurants. Over the weekend I learned of a downtown Dayton, Ohio non-profit that has donated funds and technology to help restaurants convert from in-house dining to curbside service and meal delivery, so they can keep going. This is happening all over the country along with many examples of selflessness as people share goods, even toilet paper!
One thing is for sure: just like 9/11 changed the way we travel and made us realize we are not immune from those perils that exist in distant lands, this pandemic will change our approach to everyday life. From the banal (men may wash their hands a good deal more now) to the way we work and our ability to adapt to the future sooner than we had planned. Remote working (think Zoom) will not seem as alien and telemedicine will ramp up at breakneck speed. Government barriers or regulations to adopting new ways of doing things will have to change.
Even against the backdrop of the current gloom and despondency there is a positive side. The coming together of communities to help those in need. A sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. No place does that better than this country. We have always had a great sense of gratitude, of appreciation for the abundance of riches that this country provides. Even in adversity let us never forget to be grateful for all that we have.
Maybe the crisis that has even identified a new enemy will bring about less polarization on the political front. Of course, that might be too much to hope for.