Have we turned the corner on COVID pandemic- it is hard to say! I was talking with my cousin Farhat and she said that how she could not even meet her brother and family in Dubai for Eid in mid-May. One of our friends was going to a wedding in Chicago on the long weekend, but the wedding got canceled as one of the guests went wedding shopping in Pakistan and the whole family got COVID- the father passed on never to return to his home in USA. There are lockdowns in some countries, and relaxed rules in others, such as our country. I have noticed in New Jersey that traffic jams and stressed drivers are back- too bad they did not take their COVID lesson seriously!
One of the things I had noticed in the COVID lockdown is that the fear of random shootings had reduced, as people were not congregating anywhere in large numbers. However, that short-lived hope got shattered too as we have seen daily shootings all across the United States, from nightclubs to workplaces. I feel very sad as I hear the news every day. I wonder about the perpetrators- broken hearts that lead to disturbed minds and tortured souls- which lead to buying a powerful military weapon with no check points to stop them so that they can spread their own inner torture to many innocent souls and families caught in the crossfire. I feel mad at the small but powerful lobbies that control our government, such as the gun lobby, the armaments lobby, and so on. Their small and greedy minds, stingy, merciless hearts and short-term thinking has a huge cost.
But the world keeps turning, and beautiful things happen every day to keep us happy and hopeful. Whether it is a baby deer stranded in our backyard that was rescued the next day by her mama and taken away; or the birds that congregate and have a conference every morning on our deck; or grandchildren whose birthdays we love to celebrate and who give us million dollar hugs; or loving family members who delight us; or caring friends who love to get together to spread joy; it could be a happy or somber occasion as it was today: it was the one-year death anniversary of Iqbal Zia, our beloved friend, and his wife Hina had arranged a beautiful tribute to him at Shahi Palace- it was graceful, elegant yet bittersweet, as we missed him while we smiled at the fond memories.
We have to keep reclaiming our power to influence the mood and energy around us by our being, thinking, doing and talking. We have the power to ever so slowly shift human consciousness. We may not have the clout of rich lobbies but we have the magnetism of human values- insaniyet- to spread love, dignity and equal respect for all. And every nation on earth has been sent messengers to preach that message, as it says in the Quran- so we have role models to emulate and learn from. We have a responsibility to keep spreading hope, love and peace one conversation, one person, one action at a time and we have a responsibility to serve and help others, each in our own way. So, beam away your positive energy and awaken hearts – nothing is as free or sweet as that!