And so it came to pass that a scourge was unleashed across the land, and…
This reads like the beginning of a parable, the Covid Parable, because history is being made and the last half of the parable has yet to be written.
This Easter is clearly different from any Easter that has ever come before. It’s a dark and frightening time. I’m reminded of those “choose your own adventure” books where the choices you make determine the outcome – but this is no novel and our choices mean life and death, both for ourselves and others.
Instead of traditional Easter baskets, this year, my grandkids received a bucket of face masks functioning as a nest for chocolate. Necessity is the mother of invention. Truly, face masks are the single most loving thing I can do for my family now.
The Easter Grandma delivered the basket by meeting half-way in-between our houses at a truck stop, outside, sliding a box into the back of their Dad’s truck and stepping away. No hugs this year.
My granddaughters loved their custom masks. I hope those masks will become part of good memories about staying home together and pulling together to stop a pandemic in its tracks.
In addition to the Easter bucket, packed into that box were 50 face masks for my son’s co-workers, public servants who have no choice, work with the public daily, yet have no face masks or other protective gear.
We stood more than 6 feet part and chatted lightheartedly for a few minutes, making the best of an uncertain situation.
I don’t know when I’ll see them again, or, truthfully if I will ever see them again. That’s excruciating, especially when turning to say goodbye and walking away. What do you even say, other than “I love you”?
Due to my son’s career choice, he lives in some degree of danger every day. As a result, I’ve learned to deal with ever-present danger to some extent. Other family members have been in dangerous, life threatening situations too from time to time. The difference now is that everyone is in danger, all at once, from a stealthy, invisible enemy.
How do we turn the tide on this rolling disaster?
The next chapter in this pandemic story is up to you, and to me, and to our neighbors. In other words, our world-mates. Because just like with DNA, we’re all connected.
Winning the Fight with a Pause for Love
Doner, a Southfield-based ad agency created an incredibly inspirational video. I’m particularly proud of this ad because Doner was my customer for about 20 years when I worked in a technology field. They were then, and remain, an amazing, creative company and you can read, here, about how and why Doner created this video.
It’s is just beautifully done, and so hopeful.
Wake Up Call
This pandemic is clearly a wakeup call, in so many ways.
It’s ironic, or perhaps prophetic, that this devastation is peaking during the Holy season. This time of year, in the spring as the Earth reawakens from its winter slumber in the northern hemisphere, every religion celebrates with their own rituals and traditions.
Jewish families celebrate Passover with Sedar, the Christian faith celebrates Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, Muslim people begin Ramadan and others celebrate Spring Equinox. The beautiful April “Pink Moon” is named for the time of year when pink flowers begin to bloom.
Everyone celebrates the departure of cold and gloom in their own way, but this year, we are not celebrating in groups in an attempt to stop the advance of this Covid plague. We’re isolating at home using technology to come together, at least most of us are. The world has suddenly become a much quieter and less polluted place, healing a bit as we hunker down.
It doesn’t matter whether or not your state has a mandatory lockdown order, you need to stay at home to protect yourself, and by protecting yourself, others. Just do it. It’s the single most important thing you can do to facilitate survival and limit the devastation.
The alternative is unfathomable.
Look at it this way – if everyone stays at home unnecessarily, or “too long,” the worst that happens is that we are uncomfortable, safely, at home. Conversely, if we don’t stay home, and should have, death on a massive scale will result.
We are all in this together – the world is connected – by people. One by one.
Take Time for Personal Reflection
Might I suggest that this is an opportunity for personal introspection? Can we take this time to reflect, quietly and personally on what we can do to save ourselves, to save our neighbors, our elderly in nursing homes, people residing in group facilities, our beloved family members and life as we know it?
Not everyone “prays” in the same way, but in the way that you seek the light, will you focus on the following intentions:
- Resolve to stay home. Understand that you really don’t need to go anyplace and that you are literally saving lives by staying home. That’s all you need to “do,” literally nothing.
- Consider that you really don’t need to see anyone personally to celebrate anything right now.
- Use the technology available to interact and encourage others to do the same in order to stay connected while remaining at home and isolating. Facetime, Skype and Zoom are all easy to use on phones or PCs.
- Send positive energy for world and local leaders to be guided to seek the wisest and most humane path – without political bias or ulterior motives. And I don’t mean just the politicians you support or like – I mean all of them because they are what and who we have right now and we are ALL in the same life-or-death battle together.
- Figure out how you can help someone else, without going out and making the situation worse if you are a non-essential worker. Volunteer online, make masks for pickup – just select something positive and do it.
- Pray, in whatever way you do, that we, as world citizens will find the wisdom, insight and resolve to stay at home. Then, after this is over, to collaborate and work together so that something like this never, ever has such deadly consequences again. Pray that humans never again ignore ominous signs as precious time slips away, until it’s too late.
- Leave politics out of this for now – no matter how strongly you feel – unless you’re a politician. There will be plenty of time to resolve political situations later, but right now, we have a pandemic to survive and we need united focused behavior to do that.
- If you are a politician, do everything you can to encourage people to stay home and to facilitate cooperation with surrounding governmental agencies, states and countries. Covid-19 knows no borders and our response can’t either – or we will all suffer and many will perish whose deaths could have been avoided. Set politics aside and reach out to find speedy solutions to obtain equipment, protect people and flatten the curve. When in doubt, trust the scientists.
Isolation Does Not Have to Mean Alone – Finding Inspiration
Staying home, especially this weekend, feels unnatural and insurmountable to many people, but it isn’t. Aside from electronic family-gathering tools like Zoom, Skype and Facetime, here are some uplifting, soothing options to make you feel good.
On Easter Sunday, Andrea Bocelli in combination with the mayor of Milan, Italy and the Duomo cathedral is offering a free live-streamed performance, Music For Hope. The cathedral will, of course, be vacant, except for Andrea and you, remotely. You can watch here at 6 PM UK, 10 AM PST and 1 PM EST. Even just the trailer is beautiful, inspirational and brings me to tears.
I’ll be lighting my own candle for the world. You do the same!
Regardless of your religious faith, music is uplifting and universally speaks to our souls.
I would like to share nine of my favorite music videos. Sometimes when I’m feeling low or have a particularly difficult day, I listen to these inspirational selections. Perhaps you will enjoy them too:
- Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings – dedicated to our front line health care workers and those who continue to give, knowing they are literally risking their lives.
- Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up
- Susan Boyle audition on Britain’s Got Talent 2009 – I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables
- Colm Wilkinson performing Bring Him Home from Les Miserables
- John Berry – Your Love Amazes Me
- Ed Sheeran – Perfect
- If you think Ed Sheeran’s video above was wonderful, wait until you hear Ed and Andrea Bocelli performing together in Andrea’s home in Tuscany.
- Hugh Jackman’s read-through for Greatest Showman – From Now On. This read-through is so full of passion – absolutely amazing. No words do this justice.
- Kealla Settle, also during The Greatest Showman read-through performs courageously in This is Me. I think these are actually better than the movie.
Let there be no doubt – the grace of God, Goddess, He or She, whatever you perceive the Deity to be, shines through these performers. Their music, a gift of courage that communes with our souls and lifts us up.
If God is with Andrea Bocelli in the empty Duomo, and with these artists, then God is also with you, wherever you are.
God Is in the Garden
God isn’t in a building. God is in the garden. More to the point, God is with you wherever you are. You don’t need to “go someplace” or even listen to anyone else. God doesn’t just make house calls, God lives in you.
God speaks through music, through others who grace our lives and through nature – directly to you. To your heart.
God is found in nature.
I built this labyrinth as a quiet place of reflection twenty years ago. God meets me here. I have walked this oh-so-familiar path hundreds or thousands of times. Sometimes seeking centering or healing, for myself or someone else. Sometimes with a heart filled with gratitude. Other times, blinded by burning tears of grief.
Today, I try to leave my fear here, forging a path forward. Asking what I can do, and how, and finding the resources to do it. The answers are there, within each of us, if we quiet our minds and listen.
I walk as fresh green growth appears and I’m hopeful, oh so hopeful that we will all do what we need to do, unselfishly, to save ourselves and others.
It’s an individual choice we each have to make.
What’s the Ending?
How will this pandemic end? Which of these scenarios will it be?
“And so it came to pass that a scourge was unleashed across the land…”
…and people took refuge in their houses. The plague was slowly defeated while the earth healed. People understood the message and resolved that a pandemic would never again ravage the earth.
…and at least one in every family died. There were not enough graves. People buried their dead in trenches. There were no funerals. The people realized too late that they should have stayed home, but by then, it was too late. The economy collapsed and eventually food and everything else became scarce. Slowly people recovered, but life was never the same. Families were broken and the devastation lasted for 7 generations.
…and all but one in every family died. Some families were wiped from the face of the earth, and the earth was forever changed. All nations on the earth crumbled.
The ending is up to you.
Create the End of the Story
You complete this chapter of our shared human history, the Covid Parable.
How memorable, historically, will this event be? Just a blip on the radar, remembered for the next generation or two through family stories about face masks for Easter, or something on the scale of the Bubonic Plague that literally wiped out 60% of the population of Europe? Or worse?
It’s up to you – today – tomorrow.
You make the difference.
Commune with God in the garden.
Wherever you are, God is there too.
Our collective future is in your hands.
You are tasked with that.
What will it be?