We had just finished a Zoom call yesterday with Shahid’s extended family in Pakistan, and I was sorting through hundreds of family and friends’ photos to organize them, when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and saw 2 grocery bags sitting on my porch and my friend Subegum from Jerrahi Dergah standing 8 feet away waving. It was such a heartwarming and wonderful surprise. I had mentioned to her that I might be running out of milk soon, and there she appeared the next day. And like all Sufis, when you thank them, they say “Estaghfarullah”, which means “don’t mention it at all” emphasis on “at all”. And this is on top of my neighbor Will and friend Salpi, who have been making regular deliveries for us for a month or so. Their kindness is so uplifting and reassures us that this world will be a better place and that the Coronavirus gave us a chance to show our kindness more intentionally. The Coronavirus world stoppage has given humankind’s goodness, beauty and kindness a chance to shine!
Similarly, our friend Iqbal Zia got Covid-19 in a rehab center and was moved to a hospital. Within a day, dozens of friends across the tri-state area as well as Imam Agha Tayyab showed up on 2 Zooms to do a collective prayer for his recovery. As of yesterday, he is stable and we are very hopeful that he returns home safe and healthy soon to his wife Hina Zia. As we are all apart, we want to be together, and if this is the way it has to be, let’s make the best of it.
So it was with great delight that Shahid and I discovered the One World Together at Home Global Citizen Concert which was broadcast Saturday afternoon and evening on YouTube and other channels followed by a 2 hour superstar line-up from 8pm to 10 pm. It was organized by Lady Gaga and friends to show support for the World Health Organization and its Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. One musician after another appeared, often with their fellow musicians across the globe performing together. I learned about so many new musicians and new music genres, which was fascinating. This was mixed in with videos and messages about how people around the world are appreciating the valiant health care workers in this crisis- the doctors, nurses, EMT personnel- as well as all the other essential services people- sanitation workers, delivery workers, food preparation and transportation workers, farm workers, postal workers, etc. Throughout the broadcast, I was texting with my daughters about how we were moved by the beauty of humankind that was on display.
I am so inspired by the shift that is occurring, even though it is at such a hefty cost to humanity. We cannot forget that families are suffering loss of loved ones, suffering of sick ones and separation. We must continue to pray for and support our healthcare workers and never again forget them- our lives depend on them, literally as we have seen. We have newfound appreciation for all the different types of essential workers who allow us to have a functioning society. We cannot forget the poor countries where the suffering is even greater, and where the health care systems for sure are not ready. Even we as a superpower were not ready, which is the irony in this whole affair. But as we go forward, I just pray that the kindness and empathy multiplies faster than the virus did, and that we heal together to be a different kind of human race.