The sun comes up every day, shining brightly through my window. It calls me, but I cannot come to it.
The days warm up, inviting me to let my guard down. I stay vigilant inside because a new generation needs me to love them as I have loved myself. I am in an age group that this virus holds much power over. I know I need to take care of myself to survive, but I know even more that I need others to take care of me.
I cannot do this alone: I need you.
I feel afraid. I feel my mortality. I try to keep those thoughts at bay. They creep in powerfully despite my best attempts. A woman with a mask on coughed near me five days ago when I was outside, and the anxiety rose each day over a mere tickle in the back of my throat. Most of us are feeling anxious in one way or another.
When I go for groceries, I look warily at everyone, wondering how much they care about me, how much empathy they have for me. I know I need Canada’s famous empathy now more than ever. I see a young man and I know I need him to think of me as his father. I see an old man, and he is now my dad. I hold his future in my hands.
We are all interconnected more than we have ever been in our lifetimes. For most of us, this is the greatest challenge of our lives, and we must rise to it or we will all fall together.
We have become a society with less empathy in time. It has been a slow decay but it has been there, for whatever reason, whether it be social media resulting in no repercussions for our cruelty or a life that’s too easy to remember how we band together best in the face of adversity.
Well, this is our adversity. This adversity has a list of demands for us, with the physical being that we use social distancing, but the spiritual is so much more than that. At the top of the list of spiritual demands is that we take care of each other. This is the true “love thy neighbour” belief of which we have always spoken.
This virus demands that we find empathy. This virus demands that we find our better selves, or it will put us down individually and as a society.
I see how we are all in this together — that the least of us are in this with us, of equal value, that the most of us are no better than any one person. A man with money, fame, houses, boats, planes, all of the wealth in the world has no quarter over a man of simple means. Money cannot save you. Status doesn’t exempt you. The virus plays no favourites. It sees no colour. It sees no sex. It sees no status. It sees no turban. It sees no crucifix. It sees no yarmulke. It sees only a victim, and that victim has no history.
It rained yesterday all day. I was grateful for it. It meant that people would stay inside as they have been commanded. But I don’t want to hope for rain. I want to put my hopes in you, my fellow Canadian, who I have loved so dearly through the course of this so privileged life.
Keep your bubble of six feet intact wherever you go. It sounds bizarre to say, but the virus needs a host, so if we are in this together, it has no chance against us. None. We can dominate it, destroy it. We can mock it with our best intentions.
If we keep our bubble for six weeks straight, every one of us, then it has nowhere to land to cause us harm. Give it no landing. Give it no quarter. Give it no future here inside these borders.
If you are feeling small, the truth is that you have never been bigger. If you are feeling that you do not make a difference, the truth is you make more of a difference right now than you ever have or will in your lives. This does not get done without you.
This is us. Together we rise or alone we fall.
We are Team Canada more than we have ever been. We must value each of us as we value ourselves. This moment has no politics. This moment only has survival.
I need you to take care of me, as I promise with all of my heart to take care of you.
Promise me now that we will take care of each other. Together, Canada will take its place as a new shining light on the hill.
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