Friday, August 14, 2020

A Reflection As the Summer of Pandemic Moves On


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I am old enough to remember too many times our nation has faced a time of crisis. Born at a time when polio made people stay home, wear masks, and shelter their children, I was a beneficiary of the polio vaccine, and only understood the terror it caused through the stories of my mother and grandmother.

I was only in second grade when JFK was assassinated, yet it was a crisis that left a deep mark on me. I was sure that the nuclear bombs were coming at any minute, and my fears were compounded by the fact it was the first time I had seen adults cry.

I was young and confused during the times of civil rights and war protests including the violence played on the nightly news. I could not understand why some people were being treated differently than others, and I did not understand why war existed at all. The killings of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy brought back to me the fear of a world spinning out of control.

I experienced 9-11 as a deep and personal horror - and like the assassination of JFK, think of it of a time from which we were all changed permanently.

And that is how I feel during summer 2020. I've grown from a baby to a grandmother, and I still do not understand how that no solutions have been reached.

We are dealing with a dangerous national health emergency coupled with the emotional and societal upheaval that is taking place as we face up to the painful institutionalized racism that is attached to very roots of the United States.

We are in a time of permanent change, at a crossroad where the direction we take as a country will determine the world our children and grandchildren inherit from us.

Each one of us has a responsibility to do what we can to help others heal, whether victims of COVID19 (and the inequality of healthcare that has been exposed by this pandemic) or victims of racism. I firmly believe that part of that responsibility is working for the common good, whether it is by wearing a mask in the grocery store, or standing up for equality.

For me, it means listening. Listening to the voices who are endeavoring to stop the deaths from both of the deadly infections at the forefront this summer - coronavirus and racism.
And I will continue to share my message of well-being, and yes, even laughter, because laughter is a survival skill that has been with humanity since long before language existed. Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga, has, from the beginning, encouraged the idea of laughter for world peace. And I will continue to share it with you, not because of jokes or comedy, but for social bonding and well-being.

I have always felt that laughter in the face of reality is probably the finest sound there is and will last until the day when the game is called on account of darkness. In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can. — Linda Ellerbee

I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing. – Dr. Madan Kataria

I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable. — Viktor Frankl