As I sit here on a glorious spring morning in Derbyshire, looking out from the room where I write, I feel an odd mixture of gratitude, apprehension and excitement.
Gratitude for what is. Personal good health, a healthy family, a happy home, a beautiful location and doing work that I love. Not a lot of money, but enough. When we are where we are at the moment, it’s a lot to be grateful for.
Apprehension around the point that we’re at this morning. Two weeks into lockdown the novelty is wearing off, and the near term reality beginning to bite. I don’t think coronavirus is an incident, or a bump in the road, its a fork in the road and it’s asking questions of us.
- Do we want to carry on the way we have been, or do we want to change direction?
- Are we happy with the way we are treating our fellow humans?
- Are we happy with how we are stewarding our home, the planet and its other guests.?
- Just how much is enough?
- Will we step up, or hide, from this crisis?
Excitement that this might, just might, be a big enough shock for us to change course. To question the path we are on, and where it’s taking us.
That our routines are being disrupted in a big enough way, for long enough, for us to change, not just recover to how we were before.
Coronavirus is not an enemy. It has no intent other than doing its thing by surviving, using us as hosts. For our leaders it would be easier if it were – it would give them someone to blame.
As it is, it is just exposing our own priorities and lack of foresight. Pandemics have been recognised as a global risk for decades, but because preparing for them is expensive, and we don’t know when they will happen, they have been a politically and economically inconvenient truth.
And yet. We are seeing a myriad of responses, from the brutally selfish to the incomprehensibly generous and self sacrificing. From “us first” national appropriation of critical supplies, to the unquestioning turning up of poorly paid front line health workers, store workers, volunteers in their hundreds of thousands.
They are not doing it without question – they are asking uncomfortable questions, but then they are doing it anyway. I feel humbled by that.
Coronavirus doesn’t choose, it just exploits our weaknesses, and the weaknesses in the system are down to us. The faults are generally not malign, just the thoughtless favouring of short term expediency for a few over long term prosperity for the majority.
It seems to me we are being offered a choice. It doesn’t require leadership, it requires individual decisions and commitment. For each one of us to stand up, without being asked.
On this beautiful Sunday morning. Right now.