Take nothing for granted
“Thy will be done, my Lord. Because you know the weakness in the heart of your children, and you assign each of them only the burden they can bear. May you understand my love–because it is the only thing I have that is really mine, the only thing that I will be able to take with me into the next life. Please allow it to be courageous and pure; please make it capable of surviving the snares of the world.” ― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
I was (as usual) awake very early. I'm not complaining though: I like this time of day for its solitude and peace. (Right now I'm sat in our kitchen with a cup of coffee, music playing and the dog nestled at my feet — he's tired.)
I've scanned the news, read a few bits and here and there and don't feel especially positive about the worldwide spread of coronavirus not least because (in the UK at least) I don't think we're taking it as seriously as merits something that has no known cure and is mercilessly killing people. I'm no expert and don't want to start finger-wagging, but wherever possible we should limit the spread of the disease whether that's at work or across the places people still frequent. If we have to lock everywhere down, then so be it.
As well as the human side, there are the deep marks that the virus is causing across industry — jobs will be and are at risk. I'm thinking about the travel industry and the events sector as well as tourism, which plays such a big part of the local economy.
All in all, it's a pretty desperate situation.
That said, and I don't want to be flippant, I very much hope that across society, industry and government we start to reflect on those things that have or will be most exposed to the outbreak. I'm thinking particularly of the National Health Service and how it's funded, the need for workers to travel to a place of work when so many of us could and should work from home and, most especially, our priorities in life.
But, as I've so often seen in my life, particularly in times of recession, I don't suspect foundationally that much, if anything, will change. As soon as possible, we'll be back to business as usual; namely, we'll talk up growth at almost any cost, we'll pay lip service to the environmental catastrophe and our (largely) individualistic ways will emerge with full aplomb.
Of course, this is all speculation. Like you, I've no way of knowing what's going to happen or how society might be reshaped but, if nothing else, the coronavirus has served to remind all of us the fragility of life and how much we take for granted.
Yes, that's a hackneyed message and one that doesn't do justice to what I'm trying to say, but just imagine what the earth will look like when the worst effects of climate change take effect. We won't be talking about a virus, we'll be talking about the life support system for all of mankind that we've so mercilessly exploited. Oh sure, we've made a heap of progress in raising living standards and making our lives easier but at what cost?
In the end, though, all we can do is all we can do, which I know at times feels like we're fighting a great battle with someone or something but what's the alternative? To give up? Possibly, but I think, as a species, we're innately adaptable beyond, even, the ken of our current understanding. I know we've not been around for very long but just look where we've come from. Yep, the scorecard is a bit suspect but something tells me that be it the coronavirus or anything else, the gods will want to test our resolve but I'm confident we'll pull through, even if we're diminished spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.
For my part, I'm extremely anxious about my wife and children. My love runs very deep and I'll do to keep them safe. It doesn't help that I don't see my two eldest children nearly as often as I'd like but at least with the technology now available I can talk and see them virtually in this, the deepest of hours.
I know this is only a virtual platform but at the end of every LJ name there's a real person. Ditto those people coming to these posts from elsewhere. Please, please stay safe. I'm thinking of you all.