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Easter, a time of rebirth, during Covid-19

We’ve built our structures, our towers and our borders to stay separated. The 'haves' and the 'have nots'. We chase the capitalist dream, only to discover it is in fact, a nightmare. The view from the ‘top’ is not always what’s it’s cracked up to be, especially if the treads of the ladder you climbed to get there have rotted away beneath your feet and the only way to come back down off your mountain is to take a deep fall.

We tune into ‘reality’ shows that have absolutely nothing to do with ‘reality’ – marrying a person you just met or scheming and plotting on a deserted island with strangers…. living in a parallel universe where lies, cheating and winning at all costs are rewarded. The ‘toughest’ survive and those with softness, vulnerability and kindness in their hearts are left behind.

Our lives are ruled by technology. Children know how to swipe before they can recite the alphabet or hold a paintbrush. Our never-ending need for validation through likes, follows, shares and ‘engagement’ has, ironically, seen us disengage with those right before us – from the person next to us on the bus to our spouse sitting on the couch. 

Baby holding cell phone
Image credit: By PoloX Hernandez, Unsplash

We’ve plundered and depleted our planet of it natural resources. Hunted wildlife into extinction. We usurped tribal laws and customs and ignored the wisdom gained over centuries by those who’ve lived off the land. We knew better, we said – in our complete arrogance.

Lion in Botswana. Image credit: Katrina Holden

A new decade began, full of hope and promise. But the winds of change were whispering quietly, too softly for us to hear or take much notice in our noise-driven world, mutating steadfastly to eventually bring us to our knees, make us stop in our fast-lane tracks – literally – and simply just ‘be’. The whisper has picked up pace to a gale-forced wind that is touching every echelon of society, even royalty and Prime Ministers. Suddenly, we’re all equal.

We’ve gradually designed an existence throughout decades centred around disconnecting from people in the flesh – but the universe is now demonstrating to us the model that we have been blindly coveting. It’s the ultimate, ‘be-careful-what-you-wish-for’ realisation; a slap in the face that perhaps humanity has desperately needed. As it turns out, disconnection and an ‘online-only’ civilisation is not so desirable after all.

The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking social and economic havoc and upheaval right around the globe. People are in struggle and many will tragically continue to die. There’s no denying that the world is undergoing a cataclysmic shift. Like those who survived the enormous challenges of past centuries including The Great Depression and civil and world wars, we are left to consider how we will emerge from this acute tribulation. What will we learn and unlearn; what conditioning or societal expectations will we eschew, and what lessons will we choose to take forward? Will we find salvation after the suffering?

As dark as the days can seem for so many now, there is hope that a healed world will emerge, better than the one we have been unceremoniously forced to pause. The environment for starters seems to be thriving from the stillness – canal waters of Venice are returning to their natural aqua colour; the Himalayas are seen from India for the first time in 30 years due to reduced air pollution.

This pandemic cannot and will not last forever. But when this silent, unseen enemy is defeated, how will we emerge from our cocoons? When every last cell of the virus is extinguished, what will we carry instead in our lungs, our breath, our spirits, our hearts and our minds as we pick up and resume our lives?

On this Easter weekend, celebrated by Christians as an epiphanous realisation of the cycle of death and crucifixion, and rebirth and resurrection, I hold tight to the idea that after the gloves, masks and hand-sanitiser is stowed away, we may:

Embrace in long and meaningful hugs with those we have missed 

Choose our words more carefully, understanding the fragility of life and the unknown of ‘last conversations’ 

Relish the opportunity to do the school run, pack our children’s lunches and send them off to be educated 

Re-think the way we treat our elderly, our neighbours, the vulnerable in our community

Check in on each other more often

Continue to invest in our own wellbeing and mental health and those of the most fragile in our community needing help

Share what we have 

Live humbly  

Appreciate and never take our health for granted 

Cherish, reward and respect our teachers; our healthcare workers; our supermarket staff; our baristas; retail staff etc.  

Put our phones down and live in the moment

Chase the affections, loyalty and trust of those we love and share our lives with, rather than hollow platitudes from strangers 

Dive out of bed with enthusiasm to go to the gym 

Be so excited to be travelling anywhere that we won’t even care about the long check-in queue or security screening process at airports 

See a movie on the big screen again rather than from our couch

Eating food together
Image credit: Vršovice, Prague, Czech Republic by Dan Gold, Unsplash

Roar in the stadium with the crowd when your team scores a goal

Never complain again about hosting Christmas lunch

Dance at the club until our feet ache – or the venue closes

Offer someone who sneezes a 'Bless you' rather than a look of suspicion 

Maintain the sanctity of family time and let nothing come ahead of it

Enjoy the connection of a firm handshake

Let each other’s dogs sniff each other again when walking without keeping a strained distance

Understand the honour of visiting galleries and museums to view art and expressions of creativity

Auckland Art Gallery
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand by Dev Benjamin, Unsplash

Walk on the beach or body surf the waves

Appreciate the luxury of learning which is ‘offline’ – through school, University and community classes

Make the time for the phone call, the Facetime or the online chat with family and friends – or better yet, actually catch up face-to-face

Attend family events with enthusiasm

Relish the chance to go to your house of worship

Cheer our kids on from the sidelines and make our way to Saturday sports with pride

Throw that party or barbecue

Take the road trip

Look forward to visiting elderly relatives – and hugging them on arrival

Granddad and child
Image credit: by Johnny Cohen, Unsplash

Visit your friends and family members in hospital in their hours of need, freely holding their hand, sharing conversation or just being by their side

Celebrate the vows of marriage surrounded by everyone you love and care for

Image credit: by Jonathan Borba, Unsplash

Appreciate the sanctity of sending those off who have passed with an energy of collective love, honouring and remembering

Hold hands with and kiss in public your sweetheart with absolute abandon

Converse with people at the bar, shops, park etc

Delight in the much-needed support from your weekly mother’s group catch-ups

Push your kids on the swing and watch them clamber all over the play equipment

Child on swing
Image credit: by Troy T, Unsplash

Retain our interest in playing more board games, reading our kids more books and spending more time together

Listen to live music richly and fully, appreciating every beat, every guitar-string and every powerful vocal

Music concert
Image credit: by Vishnu R Nair, Unsplash

Make out again with your boyfriend or girlfriend without feeling paranoid you’re breaking a law

Re-value the importance of face-to-face meetings and dealings with people

Women everywhere realising that untreated grey hairs really aren’t the end of the world

Pitch the tent near your mates or tender the boats together at Easter and public holidays

Swim in the rock pool

Bondi Icebergs pool
Image credit: Bondi Icebergs pool by Road Trip with Raj, Unsplash

Set up the stumps for backyard or street cricket with your neighbourhood

Stand as close to your tribe as you want

Hold as tight as you want, for as long as you want

Appreciate more fully living in a country with high standards of healthcare

File the term ‘social distancing’ to a distant memory in your psyche

Group of friends
Image credit: by Duy Pham, Unsplash

Congratulate yourself on your resilience

Know that you can survive anything

Move forward with your dreams, your darlings, your determination and your dignity – because now you truly understand that everything else, including your dollars, can disappear without warning.

Live your life

Choose love

Scrabble board
Image credit: by Jude Beck, Unsplash

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