Can COVID-19 Make Us Stronger? The Power Of Humanity & Kindness Is Our Only Hope

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Can COVID-19 Make Us Stronger? The Power Of Humanity & Kindness Is Our Only Hope
Self, Health And Wellness

About a week ago, which counts as an eternity these days, we saw something remarkable happen on social media.

The news from Italy was terrifying. Our Italian brothers and sisters were becoming sick — some dying, some "chosen" to die due to lack of medical supplies, and all of it horrifying to the world as we witnessed the intensity of COVID-19's affect. 

Then, on Twitter, the videos revealed that the citizens of Sienna had taken to their balconies to sing songs of pride. Sopranos, altos, tenors took to their isolated platforms and let their magnificent voices ring out into the night, where people on neighboring balconies could hear them, and find comfort.

It started with one singer, then it turned into a town full of singers and musicians, all performing their defiant swan songs from their little terraces, for all to be emboldened by.

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My first thought was that this was so much like that moment in Dr. Seuss' The Grinch That Stole Christmas, where, after the Grinch ruins their lives, the Whos of Whoville gather in their town square to sing their own songs of strength and pride

"Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze..." sang the Whos, to show they were resilient, proud and made up of more than their tragedy.

They rose above the anarchy, in the same way that Italians did in reality, and they showed the world in that moment that, no matter what, music will hold them together. Music would keep them mindful of being human.

One week later, Spain took to their balconies...

And later, in Salerno, Italy... 

Can COVID-19 makes us stronger? It can if we let it, and if we believe we are stronger than the threat.

We can grow in strength if we band together, holding tight to our belief that, somehow, some way, we will get through this. And we will learn what this lesson is apparently trying to teach us.

What we've come to see is that many, many people are rising to the occasion. We've recognized, en masse, that people are going to lose their jobs, and that this mass loss of employment was going to hit individuals differently.

Some places of employment have agreed to grant their employees paid leave, which is a truly compassionate gesture. For others — for instance, servers, cooks, restaurant owners — relief funds have been set up.

Our friends in the beauty industry will have to leave their work as well; barbers and stylists cannot take a chance working with the public, and petitions have gone up everywhere to bring aid to these people.

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When we help others, we become stronger. It's no longer about how this is all so "unfair" — it's now about helping others by working with the situation in reality.

When all mortgage payments are forgiven for now to be paid at a later date, that will be us being stronger.

When renters are guaranteed that if they don't get evicted for inability to pay, due to loss of income, that will be us at our strongest.

What will make us stronger is when we realize that we are one big human family, and that money is not our priority right now — health is. 

If we greedily hoard, if we insist on payments from tenants who just lost their entire income, we become weak.

If we hog all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and alcohol, we show the world that we are in it only for ourselves.

This is what weakens us, because we are not in this alone. We are one big family, and we must rise above our greedy tendencies and participate in the healing and protecting of our species.

Every day brings us new rules. We may all have to "shelter in place." And no, we're not used to this at all; this is completely unprecedented. But what about the vulnerable? The elderly? The alone? We must help them to the best of our ability.

Acts of kindness are now what defines us, as a species. We must be able to be good to our neighbors, our friends and to total strangers.

These acts of kindness have thankfully begun to take place, internationally.

Here, in America, we are starting to provide certain hours in a day where only the elderly can do their shopping, as they move slowly and are often shut out of the essential needs purchasing. The early mornings are now "seniors only" in certain supermarkets. We can't have our seniors go without.

Bravo to the stores who have provided this for our older members of society. Bravo the folks who shop for the elderly, who bring supplies right to their door.

Many of us have learned that our government isn't interested in telling us the truth, and so we come to understand that rather than go wild and anarchistic, we must work together until the scientists are able to offer us tests, vaccines and healthful suggestions.

This isn't the time for riots or looting. This isn't the time for denial or for spreading the virus by being irresponsible.

This is the time for commonality. We all have this in common now, and this is our finest hour.

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We must keep our humor intact. Yes, show off your mask! Upload your photos to Instagram of what life looks like in your home, while you isolate. Write blogs, document your experience, share your fears as well as your victories. We are all in this together.

We have a personal obligation to staying healthy now. When we take care of ourselves, we take care of our human family. As the denial, selfishness, boredom, inconvenience and worry overwhelm us, know that this too shall pass.

There is no room now for nihilism or spite. There is no room for self-pity. But there is room for love. There is room for helping others. There is room for optimism. 

Keep in mind, the vast majority of people recover from coronavirus. The numbers show this as truth.

We may not feel as though we are doing our best at the moment, and we're not, but that will change. The closer this virus gets to us, the stronger we will become.

Right now, we're in shock. It's the first time something like this has ever happened to us, and it's bad news. But the shock will dissipate soon and then the heroes will rise.

There will be heroes. And they will look like us.

They will be the people who offer positive suggestions. They will be the writers, musicians and artists who give our bleak worlds a moment of rest by providing beauty.

The heroes will bring vaccines, cures, hope. The heroes will give us hope.

The heroes will be the ones who protect themselves, which will make them able to help others.

Heroes will forgive those who cannot pay. Heroes will not throw people out on the street.

Heroes will forgive debt, because money is not the hero. People are.

We are the new heroes. Rise, brave warrior, rise.

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Dori Hartley is a portrait artist, essayist and a journalist. She's been published in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, XOJane, MyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.

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