Standing the Pandemic on its Head

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Newton’s third law of motion — that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction — applies to the COVID pandemic.

So for every crappy, awful, scary, tragic, frustrating thing that has happened because of this highly contagious and all-too-often deadly virus, some really good things are emerging because of it.

Here are my top four:

1. Public health is a real thing.

2. Compassion is a renewable resource.

The opportunity to slow down by moving around less, and staying put more, is extraordinarily nourishing.

3. Dire social inequities are caught in the glare.

4. Pressing “pause” reveals new possibilities.

Despite all the doom, gloom, and mask-deniers, hearts everywhere are still wide open.

I am not a Pollyanna by nature. But we will not fix what is broken — and plenty is broken — by obsessing exclusively over everything that is going wrong. We need to look at what might be going right, or at the very least, shows some promise. That promise, for now, may be little more than a glimmer of hope, a fresh expectation, a masked smile aimed a stranger, or a five-dollar donation to a cause you care about. We must start somewhere, and perhaps looking for that equal and opposite reaction to the negative energy that threatens to engulf us is a good place to start.

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

I write to learn — how to think, how to live, how to be — in a world that has never made much sense to me. Novels, essays, poems. Whatever the moment demands.