Signs of Hope During a Global Crisis
Like many others, my mind is racing these days and it is difficult to slow it down and rein it in. The world is changing so quickly from day to day, even hour to hour. Let me just offer a few personal thoughts about our fear and the small signs of hope that we are seeing.
Others should feel free to add their own comments in the space provided for them.
Fear is real and is ever-present. Even something as simple as reading the description on a canister of disinfecting wipes can evoke thoughts of fear. The label says, kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. I see it and wonder, yeah, but it’s that 0.1% that has me worried. It’s difficult to stay focused and deliberate at this time. Even sleep seems disturbed.
I have plenty of things I could be working on. And this period could be the rainy day that I often looked forward to, to do reading that I have long desired. But the combination of helplessness and disorientation is almost paralyzing. I focus on something for a few minutes and then I rush to check my favourite news websites.
This probably heightens my fear, but it at least allows me to stay connected and up to date, to know more about what others are going through. I try to call my aging mother every day, even for just a few minutes.
There is plenty of bad news out there and it’s likely going to worsen. But I’m discovering that I find some signs of hope at this time. Signs of spring are showing up in this part of the country. The air is clearer, because so few are driving vehicles.
All over the country individuals are risking their lives to help others, specifically health care workers, cleaners, supermarket employees and others. People are reaching out in kindness to family, friends and strangers. We seem friendlier with each other. Violent crime statistics are down.
Previous enemies have paused in their battles, at least in many cases. Both the Secretary General of the UN and Pope Francis have called for other regions to follow suit.
We are discovering who and what is most important in our lives. Family, friends, health and God top that list. We are learning new ways to do our work and to connect with one another, all from the safety and ease of home.
Those involved in Christian ministry are learning new ways to be present to the other. People are gathering in small groups online, to pray together. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and Microsoft Team are proving invaluable.
Many political, religious and business leaders are shining out at this time, with a combination of honesty and compassion. People of faith are growing in the recognition that they are the church; the church building is just a building, albeit beautiful. I wonder if we are seeing something of the beauty of the early Christian community.
I read that sales of staples such as flour and sugar are soaring, as people bake at home, rather than purchasing prepared food. Sales of seeds are increasing, as people decide to grow their own veggies.
We seem to be discovering how our parents and/or grandparents came through the Great Depression and why they have a deep appreciation for frugality and being practical.
On a macro level, our culture has a chance to press the reset button on our global priorities. It’ll be exciting to dream about the new normal that we will adopt as a world. Will we learn from the mistakes we have made in recent decades?
On a micro level, each of us can ask how we want to live now. Do we still need so much? Do we need to spend so long commuting to work? Are there ways that teamwork can happen from a distance? Humour helps.
There are many hilarious and witty cartoons online. Humour is a source of hope. I am not alone in this. I may feel isolated, but I’ve never been so connected to the painful situation of others.
Where do you find hope? Where do you see the hand and heart of God comforting us at this time?