Pandemic Diaries – Half way there

We’ve turned the corner, 10 days finished, 10 days to go. In the past we would book a 10-day holiday and I’d think, ‘That’s not enough time, I need two weeks at least.’ But these past 10 days seemed an eternity and also almost like a dream, as if we’ve been suspended in time and space.

These 10 days have been both an oasis of calm, a peaceful retreat from the world where my family and I live in quiet harmony or at least free from the stress and pressures of normal daily life. At the same time, there were periods when the time seemed to drag and the urge to go out, to escape felt almost overwhelming.

Still I am grateful for these days. Even in the midst of this pandemic, time to be with my family seems precious to me. I hope one day my children look back on this period and think of it as one of the most special of their childhood.

Now as we prepare for the end of the lockdown and the reopening of normal life, I wonder what we will change. After the global financial crisis in 2008/2009, we all faced a period of economic instability. People lost their jobs and income and many businesses collapsed. It is certain that the situation will be much worse this time around, with the economic impact lasting far into the future.

This crisis has created an opportunity for all of us to rethink about how we think about our lives, about what we value and what we strive for. Money and the accumulation of wealth, epitomized by the nouveau riche tech billionaires of Silicon Valley has become the global siren song. The mantra of the times is take, take, take. Use up all our natural resources. Deplete the earth’s ecosystem to make more money. Exploit workers as much as possible. Enrich our pockets at the expense of every natural environment. Who cares about climate change? About human trafficking? About human rights?

All other values are subsumed beneath the grasping for greater wealth. At the same time, earning enough for anything beyond basic survival for far too many has become out of reach.
I don’t know what will happen when economies reopen, when the world reaches a new ‘normal’ and we all jump back into the stream with both feet. We have gone half way towards a new reality, toward seeing a new way of living, of building a world where our relationships with each other, our communities, our connectedness is what matters most. I hope and pray that we take this new vision all the way. That we come away from this pandemic, that those who survive this pandemic, emerge from it with a greater sense of our interconnectedness and a greater appreciation for all that life and humanity can offer not only what it can take from the earth and each other.

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