Written by Padua Teacher Ryan Shelton
This lockdown feels like an inconvenience getting in the way of our routines and traditions. The growing number of infections are just numbers on a computer screen that haven’t touched me yet. Very soon, I fear that these numbers will come to life as people I know start to get infected and possibly die. Instead of simply waiting for the quarantine to lift so we can return to normal life, I wonder how “normal” will be forever changed.
The principles that define our lives are being challenged. Is a growing economy the mark of success? Is flattening the curve and decreasing the death rate our singular purpose? As we face our personal mortalities and the vulnerability of our species, I wonder what virtues I want to define my life and drive my actions. Lives are defined and remembered by how people respond to difficult circumstances. Do I have the strength and courage to respond in the right ways?
If we can look past our own fears and insecurities and accept the magnitude of the challenge ahead, we have the opportunity to connect with truth and love in its purest form. Many businesses will go bankrupt, and many people in my community will become ill and die. If you were to face these difficulties, how meaningful would it be for someone else to extend their hand to you? How painful would it be to be abandoned and forgotten? Are we afraid to die, or afraid to die alone?
Isolated within our homes, I can’t remember a more important time to stay connected to the people I love, and available to people in need. I’m not a healthcare worker, elected official, public safety officer, or food provider, but I can help people face fear and loneliness simply by listening, empathizing, and connecting with the truth of our new reality. When things are hard, I will try to stay calm, peaceful, and loving. If we can stay connected and compassionate, we will find peace in our new reality. Stay safe and love one another.