“There are certain life lessons that you can only learn in the struggle.”- Idowu Koyenikan
This is an appropriate time for reflection as ‘Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.’
Covid19 has affected the world, like no other virus has in the past. It has devastated the world with destruction of lives indiscriminately. If we ponder upon all the ongoing events and after effects, it is an eye opener for us, human beings. It has helped us realize thousands of small yet significant things. It has taught us about our existence itself- the fragility of our being, the value of our relationships and the true meaning of life itself.
It has highlighted the importance to serve human needs and purposes not only of individuals or societies but of the whole universe and in all spheres of life: be it business and economy, politics and state, the local and international;and the diverse ideologies or beliefs from different religions. We have learned and will have learned many new lessons as the world eventually comes to terms with the forced changes in our everyday life.
Let us just focus today on a few fundamental lessons that we have learned about us as humans and what we have done to our beautiful nature to lash back at us so fiercely.
The pandemic has led us to realize how terribly we have wasted our time in search of material wealth, status and power.It has also made us aware of the necessity of being in touch with our loved ones, which we take for granted; to value and enjoy spending time at home: pray and play, relish the food with our families.
The rat race of becoming successful in this worldly life has kept us away from the emotional gratification that we achieve by talking to our relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Just think: when was the last time that you laughed to your heart’s content and enjoyed your meals?These simple pleasures fuel us in thousands of beautiful ways.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made us appreciate the true value of many people whose roles in society has been undervalued: the health workers, the people at the checkout counters in different places, the delivery personnel, the countless nameless strangers who appear like angels and lend their helping hands to those who need it.
Innumerable acts of kindness, during the pandemic, have been observed around the world. Remember the old lady in Belgium giving up her ventilator to use for some younger patient? The selfless heroism of the doctor, who removed his mask; endangering his life to resuscitate a dying patient? Endless numbers of community people have mobilized into volunteer groups. These acts of selfless love give meaning to our lives.
‘How vain our lives have been devoid of these blessing of God in pursuit of artificial happiness and luxuries!’
A crisis like a global pandemic is an excellent test of character. Some people shine through their acts of compassion. Whereas some try to use this crisis for personal gains: hoarding essential supplies and making profit out of the global crisis to their financial advantage.
We must all preserve these lessons of goodness in our hearts and spread it into the post-Covid-19 world, rather than succumbing to selfish acts of greed for power and money.
Time in isolation and being stuck at home has taught us to love and be kind to ourselves, to keep ourselves busy and value our health. We have been able to renew our lost hobbies, learn new things, up skill ourselves in different ways; watch our favorite movies and fall asleep peacefully on the sofa not having to worry about the next day’s cramped schedule.
It has helped us in being independent and self- sufficient. We have acquired the art of managing our homes and home office without any helping hands, something which many households never ever thought of. Sometimes it might be tiring but it gives a sense of self-fulfillment.
Sanitation and cleanliness are an integral part of our lives but in our hustle bustle of life we almost forgot to follow the simple rules of hygiene. Coronavirus has made us appreciate its importance. Let us hope we make it a habit even when the crisis is over.
The necessity of having long term saving plans has never been so pronounced before, as we move towards a world of recession and many people are finding themselves jobless.
While in isolation, it has given us ample time to reflect on the goals and visions we had and how our life has turned a 180 degree away from those aspirations. I can say for myself that I wanted to write articles to publish, but I could never manage the time or courage. One of my friends, during this social distancing period, insisted that I write. I started writing and a few articles have already been published. My sincerest gratitude to my friend, for believing in me. Kindness and encouragement can do wonders.
Postponing goals; however small or big is not an option anymore. Time is ever fleeting and chances of survival have never been certain. This pandemic has opened our eyes to the stark realization of life’s uncertainties. Remember there is no better ‘right time’ than today to try and materialize your dreams. Don’t wait until the crisis is over, the groundwork has to start NOW.
The world, unfortunately, is divided into rich and poor, black and white, men and women, old and young and of different castes or religions. This virus affects everyone equally and points out that there are no distinctions; we are all equal and have only one identity – we are human beings.
We call nature ‘Mother Nature’ but have we treated it with respect? It is time for us to step back and think what we have done to make nature bounce back in anger at us. We claim to be the supreme powers of the world, yet a virus has made us bend on our knees. We have taken the world for granted.Our greed to control nature and exploit all its resources for our benefits has affected the ozone layer, destroyed the natural balance of eco system and brought many natural disasters. The sanctity of all living beings has been ignored. The pandemics are the result of our greed to have more and more on our platters for consumption and for profit making. It is time to take appropriate measures to save nature for a safer beautiful future for our next generation.
Times of such dire consequences and hardships also make us perceive the fragility of our existence and the presence of the supreme power. Most of us have turned back to our religions asking for divine intervention.
Eliminating the consequences and reducing the negative impacts of a crisis is not all, it involves recognizing our mistakes; it also requires us to educate ourselves, take appropriate measures and act accordingly.
This pandemic with its wave of destruction and death has highlighted some important life lessons. Let’s not let these go in vain. Let’s acknowledge and embrace these lessons.
Let this time of crisis filter out the darkness from our hearts and lives. Let’s begin our life anew: better, kinder and enlightened in our attitudes towards our fellow human beings, our surroundings and Mother Nature.
Times of crisis change people. Let us be wiser,humbler, more compassionate and beautiful.
Tasneem Hossain is a poet, columnist, trainer and management consultant