A current crisis is surrounding the world and suffocating some. Schools are closed and the word “essential” has taken on new meaning. What once seemed important has faded into memory, and the things that make life worth living: love, family, friendship, loyalty, integrity, food, employment, health, and nature have emerged once again forcing us to take notice. I’m not saying these things were not important to people before this crisis. I am saying that we have all been forced to slow down, pause, even stop, and recognize that our material items, favorite, restaurants, movie theaters, iphone, and so on, now take a backseat to what we actually live for.
Will we forget after we all pay our debt? I am seeing and hearing about more and more people having home cooked meals, taking walks in the woods, talking about social emotional learning in schools, being grateful for the small things in life, and reconnecting with who they once were or always wanted to be. Will this continue after this is all over and we are told that we can return to our “way of life,” whatever that means? My fear is that many will return to their old ways and forget how they are feeling at this moment, right now. Sure, I’m generalizing, but you get my point.
One thing that I have noticed is that the people who once complained about everything in their lives, the martyrs of the world, are still the same. They are the ones who make a fuss about everything, big and small, just as they did before this crisis flipped everyone’s world upside down. The difference is that many of these people have a condensed audience to voice their negative comments to, and much of their gripes fall on deaf ears to the people who have actually found gratitude during this time of suffering. There are people who have always tried to control everything and everyone around them that have now lost that power. A new way of thinking has emerged and you can tell the narcissistic types are struggling. They appear perplexed and uncertain. They may become more self-absorbed than ever, and it may be easier for them to be passive aggressive because they no longer face you, now that much of the world is virtual. I say good luck to these people. Maybe they will be exposed more than ever and it may force them to change. One must remain optimistic. I do have hope that everyone will use this as a time for reflection and positive change.
This is also a time to observe. Watch what others are doing, people that you are close to, acquaintances, and those that we have chosen to lead our nation. I like to say, we find out who people truly are in hard times. A crisis situation will expose others like nothing else can. It reveals a person’s true character and integrity. Actions have always spoken louder than words, but actions scream during a crisis. Become more aware of your surroundings and the actions of others because that information will come in handy when this is all over.
This piece of writing isn’t about being critical. It is more about bringing awareness, and for me, being self-aware. I too will try to improve myself as I reflect during this time of uncertainty. I can only hope others will self-reflect. I know there are those that are truly suffering right now. They have gotten this dreaded virus or have lost loved ones. Many have lost their livelihood and struggle for their basic needs to be met. I feel deeply for them and their loss. However, I also need to remind myself that I am fortunate and grateful for what I have. If I have my health, if my loved ones, friends, and students are healthy, and if I have a paycheck and food on my table, then I am a lucky man.
I will walk the trails with gratitude, look at the sun set and rise with gratitude, look into my wife’s eyes with gratitude, see my students in a virtual classroom with gratitude, speak to my mother and family, knowing that I will one day hug them again with gratitude. And one day, when this earth wants to take me back, I’ll be grateful for the time it gave me. Peace!