We see it every day, on the news, in our social media feeds – people are missing the world as we knew it. We are now six weeks into physical distancing. We are six weeks into working and learning from home. We are six weeks into shopping once each week. We are six weeks into not meeting up with friends at a restaurant or bar. We are six weeks into not being able to hug our loved ones in times of sorrow and times of joy.
We know that one day life will return to what it was. But I wonder if this six weeks and all the upcoming weeks of battling COVID-19 will change us permanently. Because while we see people desperately wishing to return to normal activities, I think we have all learned some things about ourselves and about humanity that I hope we never lose. And we have recognized things about how we have been living that perhaps we hope never to get back.
I hope we continue to care about our neighbours and friends. I hope we check on them when we haven’t heard from them in a few days. I hope we offer to pick up a few groceries while we are out so our neighbour who is feeling under the weather doesn’t have to go to the grocery store.
I hope we demonstrate our appreciation for the people working in hospitals and in grocery stores and we recognize that both are essential to keeping society healthy and safe. I hope we never again look down on the cleaner and act like we are better than him or her.
I hope we ask hard questions of government and other authorities about housing for our most vulnerable members of society. I hope we consider the value of a guaranteed minimum income. I hope we care for the homeless, the immigrant, and those living with mental illness and addiction. I hope we know that we all have a responsibility to one another. I hope we never return to a “me first” mentality.
I hope we can find a way to let the earth continue to breathe.
I hope we never again take for granted the healing power of a hug, of a caring conversation, of simple gestures. I hope empathy and compassion become our default.
It will not be easy to keep all of these really positive things we have done during this pandemic. But these represent the best of humanity. There will be a shift back to how we lived pre-COVID. But my hope is that we can find balance.
Today, as you are working, learning, living from home, I hope you are healthy and you are safe. Reach out. Be well.