It’s a strange thing to turn your phone off for a sixteen hour flight and to wonder how many new catastrophes may have occurred by the time you turn it back on.
We arrived back in the United States this morning and were shocked at the ease with which we entered JFK airport. No temperature screenings, no questions about where we’d been, empty containers of hand sanitizer throughout the arrivals area; nothing like the preparation we saw throughout Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Before leaving for Africa, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to overcome my anxiety enough to enjoy the trip. But, I did… There was a calmness there that I found reassuring. It seemed that everyone was informed, knew what was going on, but no one appeared to be panicking.
Yesterday morning, in Zimbabwe, I sat around the breakfast table listening to stories of fuel and water shortages while a contractor worked to install solar panels on the roof in hopes of combatting lengthy power outages. The country doesn’t have a functioning currency and people don’t know how much their money will or won’t be worth when they wake up in the morning. But, life goes on.
This crisis illustrates just how dependent we are upon each other and how interwoven our lives and communities are and have been for decades. This realization seems to have taken Western, developed nations by surprise whereas those less developed or developing have always known this to be true. As wealthy countries find themselves on the flip side of a virus run amok, our true colors are oozing out; toilet paper brawls, stock market crashes, mask hoarding. We are not responding well.
How to stay calm while taking the risk seriously, steer clear of panic, socially distance without isolating, and be of service to your loved ones and community as a whole?
Namaste, palms together in front of heart, instead of shaking hands.
Spiritual well-being leads to emotional and physical strength. Prioritize it.
Healthy food, lots of water, zinc, vitamin C, exercise… keep your immune system strong.
Compassion. For yourself and others. Check in.
Support your neighbors and local businesses as much as possible. This to shall pass and we need our communities to be there when we all emerge, which we will.
The sun will rise again tomorrow.