I know what you’re thinking. How could a virus that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide be a gift? I take no pleasure in the deaths, suffering, and fear that has resulted from this pandemic. Instead, I have witnessed a rise in people coming together for others, and for humanity.
In Washington, it started with the ban on large gatherings which later became even more restrictive as far as the size of gatherings. Then school closures, then restaurants and bars, and now, the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.
One of the very first things I noticed was community.
Within my own community where I live, people were offering help to their neighbors—be it picking up groceries, gifting food to those who didn’t have enough, offering odd jobs to help someone else make ends meet.
In the International District (ID)—before the restaurants shut down—people were supporting their favorite restaurants and encouraging others to do the same. The Facebook page “Support the ID – Community United” has grown to 15,000 members in under a month—its goal initially was to get people to dine at ID restaurants. Now, it asks members to support restaurants via food delivery or takeout.
We might be social distancing, but we haven’t lost connection. In my case, I feel more connected than ever to my family and friends. Thanks to technology, I am still able to see my friends in real time and stay in touch—friends who live just down the street, to my mother in another state, to yet more friends around the world.
The most recent Stay Home, Stay Healthy order now gives a lot of us the gift of time.
Time to be with family and loved ones, time to read that book or learn something new, create something, have fun, time to reflect and be with ourselves, time to reflect on what’s really important.
Environment: With a lot of people working from home, our carbon footprint is reduced since fewer people are commuting to work. Fewer greenhouse gasses is good for the environment.
Not to mention the elimination of stress and frustration from sitting in traffic.
We are not old, young, rich, poor, Democrats or Republicans, this race or that, this religion or that, we are one. And we all share the same planet: earth. The gift from COVID-19 is that this pandemic has brought us together, forced us to slow down, and remind us of what really matters.
We are all in this together.