Most of us are still in denial about the impact of Covid-19. The fact is not that surprising as the pandemic came in as a shock and with an impact of unprecedented magnitude. As humans we do not like even one aspect of our life changing; what more something that alters the very essence of our being and existence. The pandemic has disrupted the status quo and continues to disrupt the status quo and initial resistance is only natural.
One of the reasons most have remained in denial is that we are used to us vs them scenarios. When there is a terrorist attack in the west, we are detached, we feel it does not involve us. When there is unrest in the Middle East we have the same detachment. When Ebola hit West Africa we were also detached. When the floods hit Malawi, others were also detached.
But here is what is most dis-settling about this pandemic, there is no us and them. There is just “all of us”. And we have spent quite some time bargaining with the universe about the pandemic, we even tried to draw artificial us vs them lines about the pandemic based on race, location, social class and wealth. But even that isn’t working. For instance, the pandemic hit royalty itself, so prestige and wealth are not saving anyone. There no privilege benefits to the pandemic. Not all human needs and challenges can be addressed with money or power.
We are all affected and suffering one way or another because of the pandemic. I listened to a sermon by Bishop T.D Jakes the other day titled The Shock of Suffering that centered around the pandemic:
Up until now in this country we have enjoyed the luxury of looking out in the sanctity of our democracy through the window at other countries talking about those people are dealing with a plague and oh look at them, they have a virus and oh let’s pray for this country and that country and never thinking that the viruses will cross the waters and fly across on planes and now we have become ‘them’ and ‘they’.
Beware how you handle other people in the moment of their suffering and look at them in a condescending way because what I am suffering today, you can be suffering tomorrow. It can be my daughter today but yours tomorrow, be careful how you handle my boy because you got a son. Suffering will come to your house. And the real test is; I don’t need to be tested in my moment of celebration, I need to be tested in my moment of suffering. How committed am I?
Covid-19 is testing everyone’s limits. It is testing those who rescue others when they are in crisis. It is testing that that judge others when they are in crisis. It is testing those that counsel others when they are in crisis. It is testing those with faith and without faith, those who believe and those who do not believe. And just like everything else in life, the tests may not be congruent; but everyone is being tested and the toll of the pandemic is affecting everyone.
When a war is taking place, the parties involved have options to cease the war or to continue or to call a truce. They can be blamed for starting the war or can be held liable for the damage caused by the war. Covid-19 is another story; the options are limited and complex, if any. It is a waste of time to expect somebody and especially the government to be ultimately responsible for how we survive this pandemic. A lot of responsibility falls with us to adapt to the situation at hand and be proactive enough to mitigate its impact on us and on those around us.
They say change is the only constant in life and unfortunately not all change comes strapped with Champaign for celebration. Most change comes laden with the need for resilience and courage. Covid-19 has brought on that sort of change. And sometimes change that brings with it the most agony can sometimes lead to unprecedented rewards; maybe Covid-19 will bring some of that to the world? Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime we have no choice but to adapt and to adapt quickly.
I rest my case.