May 8, 2020

An Affirmation I’m carrying with me through COVID-19: Life is Sacred.

“Life is sacred,” said the one leaf in the winter to the small green buds in the spring.

Each life form—an ant to human—has the right to live in all the seasons.

The coronavirus has dominated as an invisible foe. But more than ever before, it has also asserted the fierce spirit of life.

A thread is what all life hangs onto at all times—the breath is that thread. The inhale and exhale of breath is powerful, yet not guaranteed. The next moment is not a promise. We think the next breath, and the next, and the next, will always be there for us. But, the thread may break at any instant, reminding us that life is but a floating bubble that can burst at any time.

The sudden onset and spread of the coronavirus sent us into holes literally and figuratively. The virus announced its dominance on the very breath that we need to stay alive.

Now, the thread of breath has to be stronger than the pull of the virus.

I—like many of us—have never been in a globally challenging time of the likes brought out by COVID-19 before, and I quickly learned that I am not much of a lesson learner during a pandemic situation. I am also not motivated to take a course or learn a skill or produce something noteworthy because I am under a stay at home order.

I am no Shakespeare to write King Lear under quarantine or Newton to write papers on gravity and optics. And that is probably because Shakespeare and Newton were not parents. But also, I recommend keeping it simple—only do what one can! The “health is wealth” saying has never felt more accurate.

Our most significant achievement will be to make it on the other side and be able to say, “I am well, my children are well.”

The thought of my children, and my son, who is the on Autism spectrum, getting COVID-19 was too much for me to bear. I got scared when I heard about the possible rationing of COVID-19 treatments based on disabilities, which would not only immoral but should also be illegal. I got scared of being isolated from my child, who would not be able to verbalize fully, and who depends upon me for his needs. I got frightened, and therefore, my energies have been focused on taking all the preventions advised by officials.

With all of the services, therapies, the familiar few places, teachers, and people now distant from us, we special needs parents have taken on the roles of therapist, teacher, and caregiver. We expect regression in skills, behavior, and learning—some will experience many other physiological and psychological effects, including aggression.

The road to a COVID-19-free destination is full of challenges for all parents—working, non-working, special needs, and single. I decided early on to focus on keeping the challenges to minimum, creating an environment conducive for relaxation and well-being at home for myself and children. Not stressing over e-Learning for kids or regression, but laughter and games in the backyard, gardening, encouraging free exploration, FaceTiming friends and family, virtual hugs, wholesome, nutritious cooking, nature walks—this is my vaccine for now.

The price I am paying is financial, but being the cause of illness for an elderly person, a child, or any other human is a more damaging thought to me.

With the evident turmoil of the economy looming upon us, the protests to dissolve stay at home orders were seemingly inevitable. I will be part of this economic hit as with the majority of us. I feel the frustration for all of us—starvation and homelessness are the cruelest forms of living.

Some of us may not feel impacted at all, and others only slightly, and the richer may even continue to grow richer, but most of the population will be affected financially. I believe that those who can offer financial or emotional support must do so to the less fortunate. We may be able to benefit from the available government unemployment programs, community help, and the stimulus, but that won’t be enough. No, certainly not.

However, protests are still not the answer—doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, farmers, and teachers are all our heroes at the moment. Heroes deserve cooperation so that they can do what they need to do. They also deserve accolades.

Economic compulsion will lead the economies to open, but this is the paradox: if we remain shut, we lose jobs; if we open, we may lose human lives. Thus, in this economic turmoil, when the stay at home orders do end, we must continue to follow the social distancing rules and precautions. I try to follow the state governors’ briefing and the data presented. I am eagerly waiting to hear that there fewer COVID-19 deaths than a week or two before, and that the rate of new cases is on the decline.

With everything going on, a question arises in my mind—what can we do?

We can fight for the worthy cause: the right to live.

Intensify the longing to live and let others live by being responsible for each other. If anything, this virus has shown us that we are all connected. My blood is red like yours.

Fight for the thread of breath that holds us, fight for the closure of wet markets, fight against climate change, fight for the environment, and fight for federal and state government support. Elect officials that who serve, rather than sever the ties that bind us.

I want to believe in the undying human spirit that built Rome, and rose after the wars, the Great Depression, and 9/11. I pray all of us do.

Being human, taking care of each other—family, neighbors, community—while following safeguards is the only resistance to the virus, and it will make the world’s heart keep on beating. Yes, if in a position, we can help a neighbor, a friend, and maybe donate to a food pantry or an organization fighting domestic violence. Pick up groceries for an elderly person, participate in the drive-by parade on a birthday, hold warm and fuzzy wishes signs for someone, support a friend or a child emotionally. Try to help the local shops and small businesses by ordering online or avail curbside delivery—they need us more than ever.

I recognize this is all I can do until I can do more.

In the end, the longing to live in coherence with nature is the only worship that we need to practice. And for now, coming out on the other side of this pandemic is a significant achievement. And if the virus does not discriminate, why should love?

This is my socially distant affirmation and adoration to all of you reading these few words. In gratitude to the frontline and many essential workers, because you are the caretakers of the sanctity of life as we know it.

Life is sacred, and all of us have a right to live—these are the words to live by, for now and forever.


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