Let our community spirit prevail
I didn’t expect to find words difficult this week, since the global topic is an easy one to pick, and the glut of information so effortlessly available that it shouldn’t be challenging to push through an opinion, or sow a fresh harvest of wisdom.
But it is, because there’s just too much to say.
And overload is crowding out our ability to practise discernment and reasoning as we join the coronavirus chorus.
Instead, I’ll tell you of my experience so far — the happy, good bits, since the bad bits are going to snowball daily.
And even during the pitiless shelling and gutting of young men during world wars, and other wars since, songs were composed and sung, anecdotes shared, and community spirit prevailed.
With school out early, and many of us working — or trying to find the work that’s dried to a trickle for some small businesses, such as mine — the past week has been a most intriguing social experiment.
And things that I hardly expected to happen (but which I’ve read about in books, and seen in feel-good movies), have happened.
This unexpected “holiday”, which, on the face of it, is anything but, has changed me — and the people I live with.
Apart from the practical aspects of keeping informed, doing what’s being asked of us as a community and sweating the small stuff, such as unfinished homework, apocalyptic visions of the future and my recent eye-rolling at humanity’s hysteria forcing the appointment of a security guard to protect an extra-large shipment of toilet rolls, some discernible, powerful positives have emerged.
The kids, instead of being in “holiday” mode, have found themselves in “creative” mode.
I don’t know why this is.
I haven’t followed all the mommy and Pinterest tips for “making use” of this time.
I’ve done nothing differently.
I’m trying to keep earning an income and was treating this period as their holiday.
But they seem more peaceful.
Less anxious to “do” and more inclined to “be”.
This isn’t because they’re terrified into paralysis.
In fact, they’re not engaged in any virus talk whatsoever.
They’re drawing, making things, baking, cleaning out my cupboards (not of food, but of sell-bys and dust — and voluntarily!).
For now, no matter what happens, I like that I’m being infected by the tangible feeling of goodwill and quiet determination to do good, be good and act well.
By the landlords scrapping rent where they can, or neighbours and retailers organising food and medicine packs for the elderly or the quarantined, and the various initiatives to start a bartering system, or to buy soap and bottles of water for those who can barely afford to eat, let alone wash their hands for 20 seconds.
There’s a peace amid the chaos, the not-knowing, and I can’t put my finger on it.
Like the poppies growing on battlefields.
If I could explain it better, I’d write about it; but there it is, as I see it.