An extreme optimist is a man who believes that humanity will probably survive even if it doesn’t take his advice. ~ John McCarthy
Over the past few weeks it seems as if the globe is in the middle of an end-of-the-world, apocalyptic type of horror movie. To date there have been over 315,000 confirmed worldwide cases of Covid-19, with almost 15,000 reported deaths. Terms like “Social Distancing”, “Lock Down,” “Quarantine” and “Pandemic” have become a part of everyday vocabulary. Hundreds of millions of persons have had their lives drastically changed with restrictions on travel, behavior modification and the daily search for scarce supplies such as hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, disposable masks and yes, toilet paper.
Images of Spring Breakers cavorting on beaches while persons lay dying in hospitals, do not bode well for the future of a new generation whose attitude indicates that their pleasure is more important that the lives of persons they could infect by their careless behaviour. News reports project that the situation will become far worse before it improves, as the scientific and medical fraternities search desperately for a cure, to halt the increasing rise in the rate of worldwide infections and deaths.
As dire as this all may seem, like a phoenix rising from the ashes there are signs of hope emerging from the midst of despair:
- Residents of Spain and Italy were confined to their homes in an early attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Videos have been circulated with musicians performing from their balconies, raising the spirits of their neighbours who joined in singing along and clapping.
- With universities sending students home to continue education online, many families have through shared trauma, grown closer by necessity and begun to have serious conversations about life and the changing future.
- Parents who have now been forced to “teach” their young children using lesson plans supplied by the schools, now have a greater appreciation for teachers and other educators.
- Sharing experiences with strangers encountered (at the approved social distance) create bonds as the adversity of their shared experiences can serve to bind strangers together.
- If you live near open spaces and are able to take nature walks, you have the opportunity to discover how truly beautiful our world can be.
As history continues to be written over the next few months (hopefully not years) our changing world may actually be a kinder, gentler one where we are neighbours in the true sense of the word.