One year ago, we started to hear about the novel Coronavirus, and we still did not know how deadly and global it would be. Little did we know the Biblical proportion of the pandemic that would hit us all and grind the world to a standstill. Now as we look back at the one-year anniversary, we are in awe of the universal impact it has had on every single being on the planet. We are shocked at our naivete in cavalierly predicting its end in the spring or summer of 2020! Speaking to our neighbor whose son’s drive-by birthday parade was canceled today due to the second snowstorm, we were lamenting the year of lost childhood for the young ones, not to mention the friends, relatives lost to this pandemic which seems to have touched every family, the loss of jobs and businesses which have impacted so many. 2020 was truly a year of sadness. And as we enter 2021, hope is on the horizon especially as vaccinations pick up the pace, and closer to home, we have a new Administration to guide us through this unprecedented health crisis. It is a time to celebrate the return of sanity. Some people wish for a return to “normal”. I like to caution that we will never and should never return to the “old normal”. We should create a “new normal”- one that takes the lessons of coronavirus pandemic into account.
The coronavirus anniversary is many lessons and opportunities combined into one:
- A recognition how fragile and insignificant we are as a human race- the planet could go on without us and might even prefer to given our rabid consumption of its resources
- A realization of our interconnection to all living things on the Planet, and how a small incident in one corner of the world could impact literally every human on Earth
- A reluctant acknowledgement of the global caste system, not explicit as it used to be (and still is in some parts) in India, but clear enough for all to know who is who
So, friends, don’t wish for the return to normal- create a new normal, one that is more sustainable. At the material level, be vigilant about your eco-footprint on this planet- are you conserving and protecting resources? At the individual level, are you able to expand beyond your ego’s needs and commit to greater causes? Be curious about those who are angry and enraged- what is their pain that makes them hate so much? Be compassionate about those who are marginalized and victimized- what systems need to be changed to give them a chance? Engage and rise above our own silos and dialogue with people different than you to learn and grow and foster change.
The lessons are for us as individuals and for us as communities. If we could remember and act on these lessons, and make them right, we deserve to be preserved as a human race with the gift of a beautiful planet Earth. If not, we are rightfully doomed. It would be foolish to think that going back to the “normal” we had would be good for our future- we must embrace and prepare for big changes in how we live.