I know you are afraid. Afraid to leave your house. Afraid of being left alone. Afraid you won’t be able to figure out your kid’s homework.

I know you are angry. Who wouldn’t be? Your government has royally botched its one job: to keep Americans safe. For political and selfish reasons, it ignored the tsunami coming for us. It disbanded the team of pandemic experts we needed to survive this. It failed to keep our emergency stockpiles stocked and pooh-poohed its own reports that we were woefully unprepared for a calamity of this magnitude. To this day, it continues to waffle and lie and has no all-encompassing, 50-state plan.

I know you are lonely. Having virtual parties is no replacement for holding another human being—your spouse, your son or daughter, your grandchildren, your friends—in your arms.

I know you are unbearably sad. You have lost people you loved. Your life has changed beyond your imagination, and you are running out of toilet paper.

I know you are tired. Facing an endless stream of patients with finite resources. Trying to work from home amid the kid-created chaos. Tired of making one decision after another and worrying that it might not be the right one.

I have felt all these things too. But in the solitary confinement of my office, I am looking for the light.

In all this, we may not realize that the coronavirus has given us gifts. It has forced us to slow down and actually see what lives in the moment: how the clouds shape the sky, how a bird selects seeds at the birdfeeder, how the wind feels on our face, how the tree outside the window is still there maintaining “the normal” for us. Nature sends us its eternal message: “Pay attention.”

More importantly, this deadly visitor has bestowed upon us another gift: the chance to be grand. In this one moment in time, we all have the opportunity to make the ultimate gesture: to put someone else’s needs before our own.

We all can be heroic. By keeping our distance. By sending love, support, and companionship from afar—from a window, from across the street, from an email or a video. That is the sacrifice we—such social beings that we are—have been asked to make.

We can do this. You can do this.

As a friend says, when the devil whispers in your ear, “You are not strong enough to withstand this storm,” answer him loud and clear, “Six feet back, jerk.”

Because you ARE grand.


Wanting to look at the pandemic in a different way? Check out The Pluses and Minuses of Pandemic. Thank you for your support.