It was our last “normal” day together. Sunday (after online church, hmm), we ate at a favorite local restaurant (remember those?), and watched a movie at a local theater (remember those?). It was The Invisible Man, an excellent film about an invisible enemy. Speaking about invisible enemies…
The empty shelves at the supermarket were a bit jarring. But it wasn’t until we heard online that all of the restaurants in our state were now closed that we realized it had been our last normal day.
The invisible enemy has attacked, and the only defense we have is isolation, becoming virtual shut-ins so the growing coronavirus curve can be “flattened.” A vaccine will not be available until next year. Unless we stop the spread now, this virulent virus will kill, even at a “mere” 1% death rate, millions of people. (The Spanish flu killed up to 200 million people in a world with less than 1/3rd our current population.)
There’s no question it will be harder than simply not finding everything on our grocery lists–much harder. People will suffer. Companies will fold. Jobs will be lost. Bills will go unpaid. The economy will lose trillions. And yet…
Humans are the best—and the worst—species on earth. We’re the only ones capable of destroying it, and the only ones capable of saving it. Whales and cockroaches might survive an asteroid, but only humans are working on out how to divert one away from our planet.
St. Patrick, in whose honor parades are held on this date (although cancelled this year) was a purveyor of hope. We too can be purveyors of hope. If we chose to be.
Ironically, the virtual community (smart devices, the internet), much maligned as a source of fake news and shallow friendships, is, for now, the only community we have.
How can we use it to be purveyors of hope? By breaking into each other’s isolation. In a world of virtual shut-ins, people will need to be remembered, sought out, listened to, encouraged, and helped when needed.
Let’s gather around the virtual fire and tell stories of survival, of overcoming. Information is important, yes, but it’s not enough. Let’s be helpers, healers. Let’s tell our stories of hope. Why? Because hope is more virulent than fear, and it can spread faster than any virus.
If we pass it on.