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Britain, along with some of Europe, is officially on lockdown following this unprecedented health crisis. Schools are shut early for the Easter holidays, businesses have closed temporarily but for the essential shops, and the entire nation put on notice. Grounded indefinitely. Events in Italy and Spain fill us with dread, the news inspires little confidence and it is increasingly difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel.
This time in our lives will be one for the history books, we will tell our children’s children about the time when the entire world stood still and braced for the worst. These times are unprecedented to say the least. As an introvert, I enjoy being on my own but that was balanced with the freedom of being able to break the cycle as and when I pleased. My local M&S has a rule of only 20 people in its store at any one time and they observe the six feet apart rule whilst queuing outside. The staff let you in behind a cordon and as you leave the store they give you a bunch of daffodils as if in apology for the inconvenience… for lack of a better term. It’s all so surreal and with a mother over seventy, the necessity of measures to flatten the curve hits home in many ways.
It couldn’t be more ironic that as we usher in spring, the hope the season brings with it, fades.
Yet the sentimentalist in me thinks this is the world resetting herself, her season of spring at her convenience not ours. She wants us to stop, listen, look, and learn. Take a much needed deep breath. Time no longer feels like a luxury, we have plenty of it on our hands; days are spent in the company of loved ones, for those who live with family, eyes away from screens as we connect on a personal level than virtual. For those who live alone, maybe the time is spent doing all the things we never simply have the time for, and to hopefully re-connect with ourselves away from the noise of the world outside our doors. We would be remiss to ignore the lessons Mother Nature is trying to impart on us, whatever they may be.
Life is a leveler; nothing serves to remind us of this fact than the present. In this moment, the spring of the universe, we are all one person, connected by this virus, cross borders, with one feeling and one reality. Regardless of the differences in humanity that make the world unique; rich, poor, Black, White, Chinese, English, African, American, Christian, Muslim, Atheist… we are all going through something profound with a common reality. Our connection as human beings is greater than any one person; our common union is this earth and therefore it is our job to take care of her. A reminder that life is not lived in isolation, ironic for sure, but commonly inherited therefore ought to be so cared for.
“everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.“- Mufasa, The Lion King
This moment is part of the balancing act in that circle of life; every beginning must have an end so this too shall pass, but how we come out of it solely depends on us.
When this is all over, let us not forget the very best of humanity we witnessed;
the doctors who crossed borders from embargoed nations to help other nations as they struggle to deal with the rise of the pandemic sweeping their community and wiping out generations.
The fashion houses and other companies who put their resources to use other than for profit, making medical items like masks, ventilators, hand sanitisers etc. for our healthcare professionals in the face of institutional struggle and in some cases, governmental failures.
The nurses who crossed the picket lines to put on their uniforms in order to save us and the health care workers who came out of retirement to help bolster the work force.
The truck drivers who delivered our foods to the stores that we may sustain ourselves and the shop workers stacking the shelves and have had to deal with aggravation from customers.
The people who reached out to their neighbours to help them shop or assist them in any way because they are the most vulnerable.
The many volunteers giving of their time to support the NHS in whatever way they can…
Above all else, let us never forget, the great cost to humanity and the even greater response as a human race, this is the moment that will define us for eternity. May we do better than we have.
Take care of yourselves and each other.