Corona Time: A Cultural Re-Set Button
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Today marks week 2 of the "Corona Lockdown." And while we sit on our couches watching live broadcast after broadcast, taking stock of the frozen items in our freezer, doing crunches in our living room via a newly downloaded fitness app, this is the first time in many years that we as a country, and as a world, have a unique opportunity to become better neighbors and stronger Christians.
1.) We are becoming more unified as a country. Many of us were wondering if we ever could overcome the partisanship in this country. The tribalism behind the Republicans and Democrats seemed to be unbreakable at this point... Well, look at the businesses opening their doors early for the elderly, the youth offering to shop for those at risk, the news reporters who actually can admit what our President might be doing right.... These are all things that we haven't seen since that fateful September morning when our nation came together in a united front. Heroes born out of tragedy, out of darkness comes light.
2.) We are learning to be less selfish. The first response to this pandemic by many was to go fill up their (multiple) groceries carts with "all the things." But as people have begun settling down from the initial announcement and shock they are beginning to see clearly again. We are coming together to feed the many children that rely on school for their breakfast and lunch, we are filling food pantries so those services will still be available to those in need, especially with all those waking up and finding out they no longer have a job. Young people are told that they have a civic duty, being asked to focus less on their own desires and more on ways to protect their papas and grandmas. We are made aware that our actions do affect others, in this case, in a very real, "detectable" way.
3.) We are realizing how blessed we are. Each morning, we wake up in one of the freest countries in the world. Despite its imperfections, we can all agree we have it pretty darn good. When decisions are stripped from us-- where we can go, who we can visit, what we can do-- we realize that being able to decide our own lives is a pretty awesome gift that this country offers us. For us, the "shut-down" America will be a distant, hopefully unprecedented, weird blip on our historical radar. It will be something we tell our grandchildren about because of its uniqueness. But for many around the world who live under oppressive regimes, the "shut-down" isn't an unprecedented, "flatten the curve," mode, it is an everyday reality. Indeed, God Bless the good ol' US of A.
4.) We are realizing how fragile our own human-made world is.
Within weeks, there has been a great "equalizer" throughout our world. Anyone could be a carrier, everyone is susceptible. Suddenly faced with our own mortality, we realize just how quickly our orderly world can be turned upside down. Our favorite fitness clubs post on Facebook their apologies that they have to close, Wall Street is panicking, and the Las Vegas Strip goes dark. Life as we know it, gone in an instant. All the things we take for granted, gone; things we thought permanent, totally erasable.
5. And why we need God!
Regardless of denomination, we turn to pray chains via text, watch Mass on Facebook Live, huddle together as a family around the dinner table to count our blessings. Perhaps we say the rosary for the first time since grade school. In this country, we have a fast food of options when it comes to worshipping God and many of us still struggle to go every Sunday! As churches are forced to close their doors, thousands are realizing what it is like for many around the world who don't have enough priests to say mass or are still persecuted for their faith. When this is all said and done and church doors reopen, hopefully we remember how it felt when we couldn't sit down in the pew and worship with our brothers and sisters. Hopefully long after Corona time, we haven't forgotten the lessons we learned.
"Darkness can only be scattered by light, and hatred can only be conquered by love."
-Saint Pope John Paul II