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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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