This map shows the countries affected by Covid 19 as of March 15, 2020. As social media posts from around the world scroll through my feed, glimpses into the anguish in China, the month long quarantine in Italy, and the friends who are stranded in foreign countries that are on lockdown-I am reminded of just how unique this experience in time is.
I can remember when Russia was our grave enemy and we did “nuclear bomb drills” in school, hiding under our desks in case the Commies pushed the button. I remember being on an airplane flying over the west coast when the pilot announced that we’d begun bombing Iraq in the first gulf war. I remember waking up in Washington state to see terrorists flying planes into our buildings, killing everything in their path. I have seen the political hatred in our country, dividing us in ways I never imagined possible.
But in these past weeks something unprecedented has happened. Suddenly every nation on earth has a common enemy. Human beings around the world are protecting themselves from the same attacker. For the first time we are seeing humanity in a new way. From the violin player serenading the people holed up in their apartments in Spain, to the Italian chorus of patriotic songs from their balconies, or the gospel singing in an Alabama grocery store.
In the midst of the fear, anxiety, and even hoarding, there is beauty, community, and relatability. We can empathize and feel each other’s pain regardless of our language or social station. Communist, Socialist, Republican, or Democrat-we know what it feels like to be sick, to be scared, and to feel grief.
It’s ironic isn’t it? I mean we somehow seem closer together than ever while being forced apart-isolated in our six feet of space, or even quarantined. Maybe we need each other more than we’d like to admit. And maybe it took a pandemic for the world to realize that family, love, friendship, and community are what really matter in this life.
Let’s rise to the occasion. Be kind. And stay well. ❤️🙏🏻