I believe that the magnificence past COVID-19 will feel like coming home from a war zone and prison at the same time. Perhaps you can imagine it to a certain extent. For those who have experienced one or both, I’m sure you can more fully appreciate this comparison.
I’ve experienced both, but not to the extent of those in more dangerous situations like being in a combat zone or maximum-security prison. Nevertheless, my experiences had a profound impact on me that has lasted from then until now.
I’m choosing to use the term COVID-19 over Coronavirus because the 19 designation representing 2019 puts it in the past!
My incarceration happened at age 15 when I was put in jail, then transferred to a juvenile hall, and then moved to a boys’ home. I still vividly remember the feeling of getting out of the juvenile hall to be transported to a no-fences, no locks boys’ home. I never realized until then how much freedom meant. When I walked out of the juvenile hall with my probation officer, (a great guy) who was driving me to the boys’ home, the feelings of freedom were intense! When I was released from the boys’ home the feelings were nearly the same. I believe that the billions of people who are in lockdown today will experience a similar euphoria when COVID-19 is defeated and they are able to leave their homes and move freely once again.
My experience in a war zone took place while vacationing in Greece the summer after my first year of college. My girlfriend (at the time) and I were on the Greek island of Kalymnos, a few miles off the coast of Turkey, when the Turkish military invaded the island of Cyprus after the Greek military carried out a coup there. This led to war conditions throughout Greece. On Kalymnos, paramilitary troops with WWII weapons organized in fields. Blackouts were required at night. And the only means of transportation back to Athens were ships, but they were all being used by the Greek military. So we were stuck.
Since we had left our passports in Athens, our hotel owner/manager told us that if the Turkish military invaded Kalymnos we would be in danger. If that happened, he instructed us to walk a path we had taken leisurely before all the way to a Greek Orthodox monastery in the mountains. This was alarming because we had heard that Turkish soldiers were killing tourists and civilians on Cyprus. And that they were using big knives to save on ammunition. So the situation was serious.
Eventually, we were able to book passage on a ridiculously overcrowded ship back to Athens. Then we had to wait weeks until the airport opened back up. When we finally arrived at the airport to head back to the United States it was like a military base. Heavily armed Greek soldiers were everywhere.
My deep appreciation of Greece that I acquired during the early part of my stay never waned during the war. In fact, I was so inspired by tours of historic Greek landmarks and the stories of Greece being the birthplace of Democracy, that when I returned to college I changed my major to political science. During my last two years of my bachelor’s degree, I changed it again to anthropology, which also fits.
I was thrilled to get out of that war zone and back to the safety and security of the United States. So much so that when we were transferring planes in New York, the moment I stepped off the plane’s loading stairs I kissed the ground.
Most American’s (and many other western country residents) have no idea what it’s like to have their home in a war or combat zone. Aside from the terrorist attacks on 9-11-01 and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 (Hawaii was not yet a state), there hasn’t been any war on American soil since the Civil War, which was over 150 years ago. Observe countries today that have been dealing with major armed conflicts for years!
Needless to say, my experience in Greece changed me forever. And the war we are fighting now with COVID-19 reminds me of that scary and uncertain time. The difference, of course, is that the enemy is invisible and it involves nearly every person on the planet.
As I see it, the frontline heroes are not only the incredibly brave doctors, nurses, paramedics, and police but also those who are working at essential businesses like food stores and delivery services such as UPS, FedEx, and all the others. So what do those of us do who are not on the frontlines fighting this war? What can we do? What should we do?
- Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.
- Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.
- Winston Churchill
- The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
- Courage is grace under pressure.
- Ernest Hemingway
- Hardships make or break people.
- Margaret Mitchell
What’s important is what we do from now until that magnificent day comes when we have defeated COVID-19. How will you and others feel about your attitude, behavior, and actions during COVID-19? Will you and others be proud? Here are some key questions to consider.
What choices in attitude will you make from now until then?
- Be courageous or fearful?
- Be uplifting or depressing?
- Be optimistic or pessimistic?
What will you choose to do with your time from now until then?
- Make a difference or do nothing?
- Make the most of your time or waste it?
- Make major improvements or stay the same?
How will you feel about your choices when this is over?
- Proud or ashamed?
- Happy or regretful?
- Ecstatic or miserable?
The way our leaders behave during this war is paramount. It is the ultimate test of their character. Are they driven by self-interests or those of the people they serve? Do they blame others or do they accept responsibility? Do they inspire unity or division? How do they compare to the behavior of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt during World War II? Are you following this? Or are you politically ignorant (article)?
We may have moments, hours, or days when we feel afraid, anxious, and depressed. What matters is how we manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions most of the time. For more read, How to Uplift, Strengthen, and Improve Yourself during the Coronavirus (article).
When the magnificence past COVID-19 comes, do then and now as this upbeat song encourages.