Image: Christine Copeland, Fog on Salt Spring Island
The world is on hold. Stores are closed, schools are silent, playgrounds are empty. Most of us are staying home, other than the occasional walk to get necessities. "Social distancing" has become a household phrase and the pandemic is uppermost on each and every mind.
In the midst of this, we see how social distancing has, ironically, brought communities together. In keeping apart, we have drawn together. We even pick up the phone now to check up on each other, we don’t just Facebook, Twitter or text. We look forward to that real, live voice on the line that expresses concern and caring.
Real people are making real gestures and recognizing each other. In the bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to forget the needs of those closest to us. We focus on the busyness of life and forget what it’s really about.
So, we’re brought to a standstill by an invisible bug. And it’s scary. We want to fix it and make it go away because it’s interfering with all the important things we need to do. Appointments, meetings, shopping, social media…until now, we haven’t had time to stand still.
So here we are. The world has come to a halt. We look around and see everything closed. What now? Oh, it’s you! My family is here and oh, my friends are on the phone checking to see how I am. And my neighbour, whom I seldom had time to acknowledge, needs my help. I suddenly have the time and realize that I’m part of a community made up of real people, not Facebook groups. In Italy, the hardest hit thus far, apartment windows are flung open and neighbours are singing to each other, musicians are playing along. What an incredible feeling that must be!
Remember the book “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”? Life’s lessons, ingrained in us at such an early age, are the only ones we need to follow during a crisis and always. Some call them the Beatitudes, and they are always relevant.
The Golden Rule is love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Be kind, be truthful, be helpful and humble, be respectful and gentle. Share. Don’t ever lose the sense of awe inspired by nature, the stars, the sun, the flowers, the waves on the ocean. Appreciate all the little joys of life, the smile from a stranger, the innocence of a child, the delight in a dance and a song, the hug, the kiss, the phone call.
The world has been brought to its knees. And the view from here is humbling. An eye opener and a reminder of the simple, often overlooked, gifts of everyday life.