Shelter-in-place bans are starting to lift across the country and people who are able are blending back into the world seeking some sense of normalcy.
From the day this pandemic broke in my beloved Seattle, my heart went immediately to those who have long since existed on the margins wondering how a crisis such as this would ravage what little they had.
I was out of work for nearly 8 months before getting hired part-time just a mere weeks before the reality of this outbreak truly sunk in. I was grateful. I have a roof over my head, albeit one that I can just barely afford. I also had my health. Well, somewhat. That's still currently up for discussion with my therapist.
The fear, anxiety and uncertainty, not to mention hopelessness that comes with living paycheck-to-paycheck can wreak as much havoc on one's immune system as can a full-fledged virus. And now this reality is what millions in our country are waking up to every day as they find themselves perhaps in a situation they never dreamed they'd be in--wearing a mask in their car, waiting in miles-long lines outside the food bank, on hold with state agencies for weeks straight just trying to claim unemployment or get a business loan, maybe feeling shame in driving up to their child's school to pick up free meals so their kiddos don't go hungry. I'm sure there's a biblical story in here somewhere but I'm not religious so what I can say is this.
The fragility of life has never been more apparent than it is right now. And I hope that everyone is paying attention to that.
Our world has lost its compassion. Selfishly, many don't regain it until something personal directly happens to them. Walk a mile in another man's shoes and you'll really understand that the grass isn't really greener on the other side.
I have read about and witnessed true, heartfelt acts of compassion during these last few months. Communities banding together to support local small businesses, feeding those who need it or those who are on the front lines taking care of us. I want to believe that all this goodness will not be short-lived. I see so much creativity and desire to help, and yet also see the blatant disparity of things like resources still abundant in places of great wealth and significantly lacking and sparse in places of great poverty. I would love to order out each night to support local restaurants but my budget doesn't allow that. I would love to create free masks or sanitizer or disinfectants for people in my neighborhood, but my budget doesn't allow that either. I never saw my life here, looking the way it does right now and my guess is that neither did the millions of others who are now in the same boat, perhaps even worse off than I am.
I hope we all take this to heart. Circumstances can always easily change from one mere second to the next. If that's the only take-away most will get from this, I guess I'll take it. When this whole thing has blown over, will we pause to continue our compassion and ingrain it our souls? Or will we brush it aside once the world returns to a sense of normal and wish the current moment to be just a figment of things past. Painful moments happen for us to move us towards change. I want to believe a year from now a whole new collective consciousness will be compassionately pushing boundaries, upsetting old stereotypes and beliefs and rewiring a whole new world order that includes everyone this time.