“It’s the end of the world as we know it.” These are the song lyrics that keep replaying over and over in my head since the beginning of this pandemic. The air is thick, the media is gloomy, but social unity is on the rise, there is opportunity in this uncertainty, and because of that, somehow, “I feel fine.”
Everyone is following orders to work from home or educate at home. We’re adhering to direction to have as much isolation as possible. At the same time, people are uniting for a cause that serves their fellow human. Some nuances of this mess are inspiring, and, personally, I am amazed by the opportunity presented by the pure goodness of mankind. Together, we are embracing the unique situation we’re facing with aptitude and kindness.
Opportunity for Grace
We’re coming together in not coming together to help decrease the spread of the virus. Around the globe, people who are able are making sure available resources are distributed to those in need. Others are providing meals, enrichment activities for children, free educational resources for teachers and more. They’re singing from balconies to keep each other company. People are pushing for positivity. Although the world is quickly changing its standards, people are rising up to meet them.
There is enthusiastic grace in what is occurring. Human beings are showing up to take care of each other in whatever capacity they can– from an acceptable social distance or through virtual interaction. People are rising to the occasion. We are all still encouraged to have conversations, ask for and offer support. While many events are canceled alongside our normal working routines; the opportunity for kindness, communication, and grace are not.
Opportunity at Home
It offers us development at our humanitarian core. It displays just how connected we have all become and it is challenging us to disconnect from routine and rediscover life at home. The opportunity found in socially distancing from society might be time spent reflecting on your place within it. It could be a time to reconcile routine in your family and in your household.
It might be used evaluating familial ties that you have grown too exhausted as an adult to nurture. Or to revisit romance (and also rage) with your partner. This time off could be used to teach your family life skills like cooking and cleaning. There will be financial offset and mental strife involved, but there is a glimpse of goodness in a society that demands people stay put so that we may detour the effects of a bed-ridden humanity.
Opportunity for Empathy
Sure, some people will hoard toilet paper (and half of us aren’t even sure why) but most people will not. Coronavirus unveils a demand to patiently and quickly work together or face the consequences. Because of COVID-19, we will have to work together to determine how we will recover from a quarantined portion of our year.
We will be forced into the shoes of the people who, last month, we could not begin to understand. Together, we will discover that none of us are alone in uncovering the societal impacts of COVID-19. We will practice immense empathy in our ongoing contacts with others moving forward from this. This is an opportunity to put the everyday lessons that we strive to teach our children into full-time practice. We’re all experiencing the same thing and we will be forced to be empathetic and face it as a team.
Opportunity for Unity
Times like these share likeness to “The Overview Effect,” which happens when astronauts go into space and view earth, and something changes inside of them. They face a cognitive shift in awareness when seeing the entirety of the earth. They recognize the reality of the fragile and uncertain human life inhabiting it. From up there, all the boundaries fade and you see one whole. You can’t tell white from black, rich from poor, you can just see simply, that on this rock, there is life and opportunity.
It gives us an opportunity to continue forward as a team with optimism and shared experience. Each of us has the opportunity to experience this “Overview Effect.” We have one home here on earth and one human race; we must support each other the best that we can.
Yes, it feels a little like “it’s the end of the world as we know it.” But, when I consider the opportunity within the uncertainty, personally, I feel fine knowing we’re all doing our part to move forward. Not to make light of a seriously vital situation, but just the opposite. After all, we’re all oxygen-breathing, water-drinking, toilet-paper-using humans just trying the best we can.