“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
― Dalai Lama
During this global pandemic, it’s easy to lose our hope when we see the number of people infected by the coronavirus, and sadly those who’ve lost their lives, dramatically increase from one day to the next.
For many of us, we’ve never experienced such a wide-spread outbreak in our lifetimes – affecting all walks and ages of life.
While it’s easy to lose our hope against an enemy we can’t see and complications which cannot be predicted from one medical case to the next, I’ve lost my hope in something else. Humanity.
I was in my late 20s and newly married when 9/11 occurred. At the time, I was living in New Jersey and worked across the river from where the unspeakable tragedy occurred – witnessing the plumes of smoke as my co-workers and I starred on in disbelief.
The days after the attacks were somewhat surreal for many of us in the New York-Metro area, for not only were we uncomfortably close to the attack site, but there was a good chance you knew someone with a loved one who didn’t make it home that day.
In the weeks and months after 9/11, there was a feeling of unity and camaraderie throughout communities across the area. People opened their hearts and extended selfless compassion towards their fellow man in celebration of a combined interest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We lose our hope for a reason
But the coronavirus has not united our country as I thought it would. While it’s certainly brought out the good in some people, it’s further solidified that even through a pandemic, so many people think only of themselves.
- Schools were shut down in order to protect our children and limit the community spread of this disease. Yet so many parents have taken to social media accusing teachers of getting an extended summer vacation while their children miss out on services they deserve and should be provided. Don’t even get me started on the irate parents who feel their children shouldn’t miss out on their senior prom.
- As grocery stores and restaurants try to keep up with the demand for at home food deliveries, customers still feel the need to call in and complain when something isn’t cooked right or items are substituted due to shortages or unavailability.
- Then there’s the spring break crowds who feel like social distancing is a choice not a formal request. Beaches, night clubs, boardwalks are packed with people who seem to be oblivious as to how the disease spreads and the reality that they could in fact pass it along to their friends and family with detrimental results.
These are unprecedented circumstances we ALL find ourselves in – no one is exempt. We need to be accommodating, flexible, understanding, caring, generous and patient as we all navigate and experience a time in our nation’s history which is still difficult to comprehend.
The Dalai Lama once remarked, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Love and compassion – two words our great nation seems to have forgotten. And we wonder why it’s so easy now a days to simply lose our hope.