How we deal with it will define us forever.

After more than a generation of a culture that idealized individualism and said selfish greed was good, the coronavirus is forcing us to evaluate whether that is what we want to be as a government, and as a nation.

Heather Cox Richardson, March 18, 2020

I read this blog yesterday morning from Jack’s Place, the residence built by the Shaw Regional Cancer Center for cancer patients and their caregivers. This center was constructed because many of the patients who received care there could not afford hotel rooms in Vail on top of the other expenses associated with a cancer diagnosis. The tipping point was when the founding director stumbled on one of them sleeping in his car.

What happened next is beautiful. A group of caring people made Jack’s Place happen. They didn’t do it because there was anything in it for them, they did it because it was the right thing to do.

How many times in the last few years have we seen the exact opposite? Partisanship and greed have chipped away at the morals of this nation (and world) and created a very ugly place. It needs to change and if nothing else good comes out of this pandemic, perhaps it will make each of us look closely at our priorities and decide what is right – regardless of whether there is anything in it for ourselves.

We have time now to slow down and reflect on what is important. Is it the big house, the big salary, the next cool gadget? Or is it reaching out to the “guy sleeping in the car” and giving him a place to stay while he undergoes cancer treatment. Are we teaching our children to respect others, the environment, themselves? Or are we encouraging them “to be # 1” regardless of the consequences.

For too long we have lived in an ultra competitive, every man for himself world. This culture is reinforced by our politics, our sports, our media, our entertainment, and even by our friendships. Keeping up in the workplace and in the neighborhood is a way of life. Now would be a good time to stop.

I realize that we have a whole host of issues to confront. For now, since we are all homebound, let’s start with our neighborhoods. How can we reach out to the folks who have lost their jobs, have no childcare, don’t have enough to eat, are sick without healthcare, are alone? Is there someone like that in your neighborhood? Can you find a way to help?

And how about all that “stuff”? Do we really need it? Is there someone else who needs it more? And that job promotion – is it really more important than being with our families and watching our kids and grandkids grow up healthy and happy? Why not plant a garden and share some of the food instead of spend all our weekends making sure our lawns are perfect. Let’s take a walk and breathe in the air and remind ourselves that we have to take care of our planet if we want our grandkids to be able to do the same.

I fully admit that I am guilty of all of the striving, getting, and needing of which I write. But this quiet time is forcing me, and I hope you, to think about what it will be like “after.” As one of the comments on the blog I referenced above said: how we deal with this pandemic will define us forever.

Seth Avett posted this in Instagram today. He read my mind.