Reality has finally succumbed to a sci-fi junkie’s wet dream. A contagious virus is among us, and it has single-handedly decimated all birthday parties, family vacations, spring break plans, funerals, weddings and college graduations that lay in its path.
People everywhere are having to forfeit over their daily routines and normal lives. Lives around the world are at a complete standstill, which has left millions of newly unemployed workers treading in a wake of uncertainty and fear. Doctors say it will take another 45 days just for the United States to hit its peak of coronavirus cases. But, in actuality, no one has any clue when there will be light at the end of this tunnel.
Some have taken to social media to bellow “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” Others have pillaged shelves of local grocery stores for raw meat, bottles of water and paper to wipe their asses with.
I know I don’t need to tell you this. It’s the only thing on every person’s mind and the only topic murmured from their mouths. It’s as if the conversational safety net of bullshitting about the weather has been replaced with venting about a catastrophic, global pandemic.
The new normal, they say.
I don’t believe in God, but this virus has made me believe in a higher power, and she is a woke bitch with a sick sense of humor. She looks at us scheduling our future plans and thinks to Herself, ‘these mortals believe they have a say in anything?’ She laughs and laughs and laughs and takes a monumental shit on human kind just to remind everyone who is really in charge here.
Despite all of this fear and suffering, I can’t help but feel like COVID-19 is a blessing if you think about it. I’d even go as far as calling this pandemic our modern messiah — our literal, viral version of Jesus Christ, if you will.
Give me a chance to back up that blasphemously charged statement. The Christian faith preaches that Jesus Christ was sent down to earth because God was not happy with humanity: they were worshipping false idols, participating in child sacrifices, and overall acting out of greed. Jesus essentially redirected humanity onto a different philosophical route and taught people progessive lessons about morality and compassion. He created a new normal.
We have become a species enslaved to planning ahead. We preemptively calculate how much time it will take to get to our airline gate, strategically map out our college years to graduate on time, and obediently notify our places of work two to three weeks in advance about our planned vacations. We countdown the days to when it is financially feasible to retire, and rehearse this glorious moment in our heads just to keep us sane.
Plan, plan, plan and then we’ll get there; we’ll cross the threshold, we’ll breach the surface and we’ll break through to the other side. You just have to have a plan.
Well, look where that plan has gotten us. Who could’ve possibly planned for this? Millions of people around the world are having to throw out the whole playbook and go back to the drawing board to make life decisions.
As devastating and scary as COVID-19 is, the virus is also sending us a valuable message. At the end of the day, we are all merely subjects of the universe, and no one has total control over their lives. The future is unforeseeable and rather ethereal, and there’s something cathartic about swallowing that truth. Maybe I’m being a naive optimist, but I believe the utter chaos going on can teach us to let go of control, embrace the present and follow where life takes us.
Over the course of this quarantine — despite being constantly surrounded and bombarded by the frenzy of COVID-19 news updates — I have finally been able to stop and take a breath. For so long I have spent my days frantically juggling endless tasks and responsibilities, but now my only jobs are to sit back, stay healthy and wait.
The pandemic has proven to be the mighty leveler, for it affects all demographics, all socioeconomic classes, everyone, despite their privilege or standing in life. Suddenly, we are all on the same playing field. I’m not ignoring the obvious truth that the homeless, elderly and impoverished are experiencing this pandemic very differently than the people who can easily quarantine themselves with their weighted blankets and Chobani yogurt. What I mean is this problem relates and affects everyone, despite who or where they are. This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s an everyone issue. During these rare and humbling times, there is a strong potential for people to put aside their differences and offer support.
Communities are unifying in ways that are empathetic and helpful but still upholding to social distancing. Neighbors are volunteering to deliver groceries to the elderly, and families are scheduling FaceTime sessions with extended relatives. I’d argue that these instances of coming together for the common good and for human connection probably wouldn’t have happened if COVID-19 didn’t come to earth.
Critical times like these present everyone with two options: allow the uncertainty to take over until your fear and anxiety eat you from the inside out, or accept your lack of control and rise from the ashes. Depending on everyone’s choice, this pandemic could present the world with a New Testament of compassion, unity and empathy.