For eight and a half years I wrote a mostly feel good column in a few small town newspapers. And you know what? I was okay at it. People liked it. They looked forward to it. And so did I. I enjoyed making people’s day. I became adept at finding the good in what felt like the darkest of times.
But in the last few years, I couldn’t do it. My life got too dark, and so did my column. So I shuttered it. And just when I thought things were looking up… COVID-19 happened.
I don’t have to tell you that this is hard. People are dying. Like, a lot of people. We are fighting this invisible enemy and we’re all terrified.
Who am I to make light of this struggle? Yet it’s light that we need. We can’t give up. We must keep going. We need light in this darkness to show us the way.
I haven’t been able to tap into that feel good thing for a long time. But I’m going to try for you, dear readers. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time I was able to do something for others that I couldn’t do for myself.
Somehow, this attempt feels different.
Before, when my life got hard, I felt very alone and misunderstood. I felt as though I was fighting this constant uphill battle all by myself.
But that’s not the case this time. This time, everyone is fighting a common foe. Certainly there are examples of selfishness, of hoarding toilet paper, food, medicine, and medical supplies; of people blowing off the warnings and going on spring break or hosting “Corona Parties.”
The vast majority of us are all in.
We are invested in solving this, and we are willing to make sacrifices to take care of ourselves and others on a global scale.
Yes, this is globally terrifying. But let’s let our fear take a back seat for a moment, and focus on the wonder of it all.
Could any of us have imagined, even three weeks ago, that the entire world would unite under a single cause? I mean, the whole world is doing this! That is gorgeous and awe inspiring.
There is more hope in this fight than at any time in human history.
Never, ever again can anyone claim that the whole of humanity, in all its diversity of race, religion, and creed, cannot unite behind a common cause. What seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago has become possible.
In that way, we’ve already beaten COVID-19.
No matter how much suffering this disease inflicts, we have already, in such a very short time, learned more than the first 200,000 years of human history. The scientific and humanitarian advancements that will result from this pandemic will rocket all of civilization into an entirely new era.
All that once was is flipped on it’s head.
The least appreciated have become the most valuable: Grocery store clerks, truckers, garbage and sanitation workers, teachers, nurses, mail carriers and package delivery drivers, farmers, factory workers making medical equipment, social workers, first responders, and so many others on the front lines of this fight who were once invisible.
In my community, as I know is the case in so many others, the school lunch staff are working to ensure that every hungry child who relies on school meals is fed. Yes, folks, the day has arrived when the lunch lady finally gets the respect she deserves. About damn time.
This is bigger than petty politics.
We can try calling COVID-19 nasty names, we can try to blame it on just one place. But deep down we know that if it hadn’t started this time and that place, it would have been another time, in another place.
COVID-19 doesn’t care what you call it. It infects and kills indiscriminately. And it must be extinguished cooperatively. Casting blame and making excuses only wastes valuable time that could be spent saving lives.
There will forever be life before, and life after COVID-19.
Thanks to this illness, we can see the good that results when we work together instead of pushing against one another.
There is no time or space for the power hungry. There is only room for the helpers, the healers, the peaceful warriors who quietly show up, day in and day out, at their own risk and peril, to leave this world better than they found it.
One way or another, we are all in this together.
We live together, and we die together. COVID-19 is a ruthless oppressor. But we are stronger. We may have had to postpone our Olympics. That’s okay. We’ll live and thrive to play another day. For now, we have united as a global community.
We aren’t just Team USA, or Team China, or Team Italy or France or UK, Team South Africa, Iran, Australia, South Korea, or Japan.
We are Team Earth.
And that is a truly dazzling thing.