“I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.”
How can we really pull together and show care towards others at this awful, isolating time?
Fry’s powerful statement above ends with a tongue-in-cheek comment about ‘going back to being mean’ afterwards. But let’s hope that this does not happen. Let us decide that we can all learn from this…..to value each other more, to overlook and sometimes,where appropriate, to forgive.
How vulnerable are we human beings! A tiny, destructively virulent virus threatens the very fabric or our lives, as it spreads and multiplies across the world. An increased sense of our own mortality, our human frailty and our powerlessness is an inevitable result of this pandemic.
At the same time, we may be discovering that the opposite is also true and that we all have more strength and resilience than we thought.
So many are risking their own health to help others across the world, individually and in teams. We can all assist in some way, no matter how small.
My last few posts have been timely; they focussed on loneliness. Now, this issue has become even more relevant. There will be people who have to self-isolate who live alone. They may feel sad, frightened or depressed at the prospect of some months’ isolation.
‘Aunt Sitting in The Rocking Chair.’ Munch. Wikimedia Commons
It is important that those who are not alone, take time to remember others who are. A text, an email, a phone or video call, can make a difference.
Having a rota of people who can phone the lonely and isolated, or (if permitted) do some vital supermarket or pharmacy shopping for them may be a life-saver.
Even if your friend or neighbour has someone living with them, it is still good to receive calls from the ‘outside’ world.
“I want you to be concerned about your next-door neighbour. Do you know your next-door neighbour?”
Auguste Herbin – La Place Maubert  Flickr:Gandalf’s Gallery
Becoming acquainted with your neighbour, now, will need to be done at a distance, but is it still possible. A friend of mine has arranged a Skype ‘coffee shop;’ she contacts people by arrangement for coffee, which they make for themselves and ‘share’ over video conversations online.
The thought of waking up each morning to a day of isolation for months on end is daunting to all of us; that is why it is important to find ways of keeping in touch with others, to keep all our spirits up.
Munch. ‘Morning.’ Wikimedia Commons.
Social media will become even more important. My husband’s regular weekly discussion group is now to be conducted through a group Skype call. This takes some technical ability; if you know how to arrange this, could you spread the word?
Perhaps you could instruct those who are elderly in how to use Skype?
“One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.”
Las Horas Tristas. Ramon Casas. Wikimedia Commons.
Whilst it is inevitable that we all will be in some way affected by this virus, some people are more isolated or worse hit than others. Empathy is crucial at this time.
“What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?”
In periods of tragedy and disaster, such as wartime, there often develops a sense of pulling together, and looking out for others.
It has been said that, with the coronavirus pandemic, we are fighting a war, but this time we cannot see the enemy.
During World War Two, people developed new, caring and empathic ways of thinking about each other:
“All sections of society were affected by the bombing. The upper, middle and working classes were equally at risk.
Bombing helped to change attitudes because civilians helped each other construct shelters and would check to see if families needed help after a raid. A community spirit and mentality whereby everyone helped each other, developed in Britain. This attitude was to continue after the war…..
Air Raid Shelter in World War 2.
Whilst this is not wartime and things are quite different, (we certainly do not have the opportunity to socially interact as many did in wartime, ) there are also distinct similarities between then and now.
In this public health crisis, as in war, people are afraid of dying, there may be money worries, business are suffering, some folks are isolated and others are ill and need hospital care.
Many people are showing enormous strength, stamina and kindness and there are not enough superlatives to describe the courage and unbelievable work of those in the NHS and other vital public services.
“To state quite simply what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.”
Camus. The Plague.
Munch. The Infirmary at Helgelandsmoen.
Heeding and Following Government Recommendations
Why are some people ignoring government advice not to mingle with others?
This is not the time for denial of reality, if that is what might be happening, but a time to listen to the medics and the scientists. I wonder why so many people are not listening to their heartfelt professional advice?
This is not pulling together. I would be interested to know others’ views about why some people are ignoring the health advice and risking catching and spreading coronavirus.
Is this some kind of denial of the possibility of death? A feeling of invulnerability as a defence against unacknowledged fear? Is it a rebellious reaction towards ‘parental’ authority and against the idea of being told what to do?
Is it bravado, perhaps borne out of grief, fear and disbelief at the suddenness of all this, couched behind an attitude of “It will never happen to me” ?
Perhaps there is a tendency towards a ‘herd’ mentality; “everyone else is doing this , so why shouldn’t I ?”
Whatever, such thoughts, feelings and behaviour mean that we cannot all be working together.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
It is crucial that we follow the experts’ advice. Thorough hand washing, social distancing and self isolation are becoming new bywords for loving and caring about ourselves and other people.
Piglet: “Where are we going, Pooh?”
Pooh: “Home Piglet. We’re going home, because that’s the best thing to do right now.”