More than ever, isolation has made us aware of the importance of outreach to family and friends. Today, I share with you one such exchange that has brought me solace, and will hopefully lift your spirits as well.
Dear friend, it is simply great to hear from you, and thank you, I’m physically well. However, I must admit that I’m struggling to maintain a positive outlook as I watch events unfold from the safety of my home.
I’m absolutely convinced that there are important lessons to be learned from the current pandemic. We must find ways to be kinder both to the environment and to one another. The virus has made no distinction between the old and the frail, whether they reside in China, in Europe,or closer to home. Our task is to learn to treat one another as fellow humans, as brothers and sisters with whom we have so much in common and with whom we seek to dwell in peace and harmony on planet earth.
Alas, I fear that in our eagerness to “make up for lost time,” we will exploit the earth and one another to an even greater degree. I’ve read that Americans are buying guns at hitherto unprecedented rates to ensure no needy person knocks at their door. I fear that people will be even less willing to share, less willing to welcome the stranger including the immigrant whose home country has become unliveable.
It’s a complex world, but of this, I am certain: going back to the way things were in the past will not solve the problems that lie ahead.
I’m just re-reading Paulo Coelho’s Manuscript Found in Accra, whose wise elder advises that we not live tomorrow as if it were yesterday.
I considered giving up. I thought God was no longer listening to me. I often had to change direction, and, on other occasions, I lost my way. Despite everything, though, I found it again and carried on, because I was convinced there was no other way to live my life. I learned which bridges should be crossed and which should be burned.
My friend, may new bridges appear for us both to cross!
And what follows is the response that renewed my hope and reminded me that the world is indeed filled with so many good people, all striving to become even better people:
Yes, querida Helen, the last few weeks have been challenging for most of us. I too went through a period of despair and pessimism. I feel much better now, appreciating every small gift that life brings, each and every day. I’m thankful for the immense privileges that I enjoy.
I do see the insanity engulfing places like the U.S. (sigh…) but I also have an odd sense of optimism that in many other places, this crisis will be a turning point for the better. Why? Because I feel that for MANY of us, this situation has made us face our vulnerability and has made us re-evaluate what’s really important and what’s not.
I loved your quote from Coelho’s book. This is exactly what I was trying to convey during one of our last meetings over coffee. Despite everything, even the fact that we may not get to see a profound, lasting change during our lifetime, we must carry on because there is no other way to live. We’ll achieve what little or however much we can. In the process, we’ll learn which bridges are worth crossing and which bridges should be burned.