Charles Dickens begins his novel, A Tale Of Two Cities, set during the French Revolution with, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity …”
This could easily describe our world in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic.
The worst of times
- Unprecedented speed of the transmission of a virus which has caused X (keeps rising) number of deaths worldwide – and the unimagined loss and grief accompanying that.
- And the knowledge that we do not yet have a cure or a solid understanding of the virus.
- False news spread maliciously.
- “false” news spread innocently, (but without checking) with the desire to inform, educate and connect with others – and then the fear and shame that comes with the warnings of harsh penalties. (see link to check: https://www.poynter.org/ifcn-covid-misinformation/)
- Economic downturn, with many businesses unable to operate in their usual ways; and the sharp rise of unemployment…
These are “the worst of times.” And we are warned that worse is coming…
The best of times
What I want to do today is to curate some of what I have received in the last few days which is confirming my faith in humanity.
I start with music, that universal language of the soul:
- We all know the devastation Italy has been experiencing – the unspeakable loss. And yet, music and song for which Italy is famous continues.
- Listen to this international virtual choir singing Nabucco by Verdi, prefaced by these poignant words: “to ease this situation of tension the artists of the International Opera Choir open the doors of their virtual rehearsal rooms so that each singer comes closer to the other through music:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTVXEGIS3LE
- Listen to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra playing virtually – “from us to you.” M.youtube.com/watch?v=3eXT60rbBVk
- And closer to home, near the beginning of lockdown, Roedean School in Johannesburg posted a moving rendition of Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen on You Tube. On their website they state: “Apart in uncertain times but together in spirit and song. May our choir’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah be a timely reminder that we are indeed #togetherApart.“ m.youtube.com/watch?v=3y51WWrYodl
- And then there was that song, starting with the image of the South African flag appearing in our Whatts App groups after lockdown, with South African artists joining together singing in several South African languages to inspire and unite us through their song and the visuals of our breathtakingly beautiful South Africa – reminding us we are “resilient and resourceful” and for us to” use this time to find a way “– “ to remember that there is life after Covid 19 … and to keep the spark burning inside us; to refine our purpose; to achieve much in isolation …”
And the warm human heart that longs for connection; that is incurably generous
- The outpouring of generosity I read about on Facebook for the homeless in Durban during lockdown – with many people from all faiths joining together to provide shelter, three meals a day and other resources for the homeless. I am sure that the same is happening worldwide.
- The story shared by Rev Dr Mary Luti (and posted in Sermon Seeds April 5 2020 – United Church of Christ ucc.org/worship_samuel_sermon_seeds_april_5_2)) of the people of Seville who are transforming their balconies into places of love and communion:
“ Balconies onto which they emerge every night to applaud the nation’s health workers.”
“ Balconies across which they pass meals to elderly neighbours and cigarettes to the guy who has just run out.”
“ Balconies where they have been hanging strings of cheery Christmas lights, playing instruments, teaching each other to dance, playing impossibly acrobatic ping pong from floor to floor AND shouting encouragement to each other as the confinement wears on.”
- The many offers of free resources:
- Free audio books from Amazon – see www.stories.audible.com/discovery
- 700 free books from Cambridge press: https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/textbooks#
- The free guidance on how to change the way we “do” work quickly and how to flex into a rapidly changing time:
- Tools for remote teams – collaborationsuperpowers.com/tools
- Harvard Business Review’s free e book(for personal use) with many useful and high quality resources particularly for managers, teams and business owners in this time of COVID1
- A free online book by John Sanei called FutureNow – a guidebook to” embrace the unknown” in what he calls “Covid Reset” time- published by Burnet Media – see www.burnettmedia.co.za
The “lives[we] touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who know where the trembling stops or in what place [our] touch may be felt.” These words by Frederick Buechner, spoken long ago, are echoing across the world now as, despite the “social isolation,” many people reach out to “touch” others across the world, all facing the same pandemic and needing the same comfort and connection. My heart is full.
Posted by Juliette Gyure from Far Sight Coaching, change management and transition coach; career coach; leadership and team coach # togetherApart #resourcesinCovid19times #leadershipcoaching #lifecoaching#dailyinspiration