“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.” ——John Lennon
I was a sophomore in high school on 9/11.
I didn’t have a camera that day but if I did I would have photographed the lines of cars flooding the gas stations on my way home from school. The next day I would have documented life in the classrooms as we all gathered around TV’s to watch the news. In the weeks following the attacks, there was a sense of community that I’d never experienced before.
We watched the replay of planes crashing and felt a sense of loss collectively. People put flags on their cars and in their front yards. They made signs showing support for emergency workers, police, fireman and soldiers. Nearly twenty years later, America is faced with another crisis. This time the feelings that I’m experiencing and the signs that are popping up are a little different.
As the pandemic surges through our communities, we are again collectively faced with a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty about the future. Panic and hysteria spread like a virus—causing a run on grocery stores as shelves are emptied. I’ve heard stories of people driving from out of state just to buy toilet paper——not to hoard it—but because they simply need it. What we have to realize is that the supply chains are still running. There will be more of everything. When we let our fear take over and we buy up all of the essentials—we’re effectively taking from the people who actually need it.
When our fear causes us to hoard——we are taking from our neighbors, our coworkers, our families, and our friends.
The worst of us are tearing everything off the shelves just to turn around and sell it on eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace——profiting from fear.
Don’t be one of these people.
Choose compassion over greed.
Choose humility over insolence.
Choose rationality over blindfolded hysteria.
We will face whatever happens in the coming weeks together—self-quarantined or not. Let’s stop thinking about ourselves and start putting other people first. Call your parents, your grandparents, your friends.
Make sure they are taken care of——make them a priority.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” ——John Lennon
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this past week is that there are absolutely no guarantees in life. Governments fail, leadership fails, grocery stores fail, apps fail——societies fail. We can’t predict what is going to happen. But what we can do is choose to be a force for good—rather than a source of fear.