Every morning, for days now, I’ve been observing the process and patience of nature. As I sit by the window sipping tea, my gaze is fixed on the Yellow-flame tree outside. A pair of great egrets had built a nest and soon I spotted three little heads popping through the branches. It was a joy to see new life. However, what interested me was how beautifully unhurried and serene the process was. They say life doesn’t come with a manual, but it does. Just look around.
2020 has been nothing short of revolutionary so far. It has brought humankind down on its knees in the most ‘unprecedented’ way. One after the other, countries have gone into lockdown owing to the dreaded Covid-19 Corona virus. This must be the first time in history that everyone is, quite literally, in the same boat and speaking the same language. Status, hierarchy, political differences, religious differences, everything has melted away, at least for now. People are more compassionate and empathetic towards each other.
When the lockdown was announced in India, the collective panic of the nation was felt like a tangible thing. I felt it too, but only for a few minutes. It is important that fear, sooner than later, gives way to acceptance. Back in school, I remember painting a motivation card and placing it on the television set. It read: Hope for the best, be prepared for the worst. This quote had a profound effect on me. People might see me as an idealist, but for the longest time, I’ve built myself on the idea of acceptance. When faced with a dire situation, my first question is: “What is the worst that can happen and how will I handle that?” It instantly calms me down, because I realise that life doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. In any difficult situation, allow yourself to feel the fear and panic fully, let it rattle you, then take a deep breath and think about how you can best handle it.
A friend recently asked me how we can maintain hope and optimism in the midst of such tremendous panic. The quarantine of 2020 has given us a lot to reconsider: how we live our lives, how we must conduct ourselves, what is really important, what are our strengths and weaknesses, how we can rearrange ourselves and how we must use technology to our advantage. The onslaught of conflicting information is overwhelming. The loss of life is disturbing. So, my first step was to cut out the unnecessary information and focus on things that sustained me. That done, it has been heartening to see how human spirits shine during a crisis. There is so much to learn. If we eschew the victim mentality and adopt a warrior mindset, we are bound to win.
Lent, for the past couple of years has been a significant time for me. This year, once churches closed down, schedules got disrupted. But the season, that ends today, has turned out to be more profound than usual. We have realised so much in this short time. People who matter, the ones who care about you and the ones you worry about. The frivolity of titles and luxuries that don’t seem important, because all we need to survive right now are essentials. Above all, there is deep gratitude for all that we have received in abundance. Nature has provided us with so much, but it is only when our breath is threatened by a virus that we recognise the blessings we have taken for granted.
Let us not blame anyone or demand proof of a God that we can relate to only by faith. We are called human ‘beings’, so all we essentially need to do is learn how to ‘be’. Let us stop running around and slow down. After all the signs, do we, who call ourselves educated and thinking people, need more proof?
It’s Easter Sunday tomorrow and what better day to send out a message of hope and renewal to a world that is desperately looking for a ray of light. Nothing lasts forever. This too shall pass. However, and this is important, let us not lose faith. Let us allow the experience to heal and redeem us.