Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. – J.R.R. Tolkien
The covid-19 pandemic has sent our world whirling down an accelerated timeline. Those breezy pre-pandemic leisure moments are gone. All jobs have changed forever. Distance learning and remote work are the future. These changes are just beginning. Above all else, we need to keep our faith in each other. Many years from now, the history of this time will show this wretched pandemic was stopped by the people – We the People of the World. It will be us, united against this common enemy, that will extinguish the deadly hellfire of the covid virus. The day-to-day real burdens fall on our shoulders. We and our loved ones, must do the heavy lifting, sacrifice and adapt. To be victorious, me must have faith in ourselves and in We the People of the World.
Between 1776-1777, Thomas Paine wrote a series of thirteen pamphlets entitled, “The American Crisis”. Just before Christmas of 1776, he published the first of the series. The work begins with one of the most famous lines in American History: “These are the times that try men’s souls”. This line became the watchword for Washington’s troops. A watchword is: a word or short phrase to be communicated, when challenged, to a sentinel or guard. Paine used the pseudonym – Common Sense. In these modern trying times, we must use our common sense in order to survive and keep the faith in one another.
Unexplored lands were often designated on maps with fanciful mythological creatures. Great unknowns now occupy the lands of our minds. Billions of lives have unraveled and shattered. According to the United Nations, working hours fell 14 per cent during the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs. Think for a moment of the impact on people’s lives that loss of income made. We all are feeling it. The demon viral creature still stands at the border between here/now and the horizon.
Thomas Paine’s intellect was a product of the Age of Enlightenment. The Enlightenment began with Newton and Descartes (I think therefore I am). Some of the guiding principles of the Enlightenment include: liberty, tolerance and progress. This is the third decade of the 21st Century. And we have been given the task of rebuilding our world. Some enlightened governments will rise to the challenge and perform well; other less enlightened ones will falter and fail, leaving their citizens to fend for themselves. People of privilege long ago insulated themselves from the impacts of the pandemic. We, the multitudes, must walk beyond the rubble and ruin of the old world. With our hope-filled hearts, we will build this new world ahead as we did the last.
All we know for certain is Today. But remember, yesterday was once today; and tomorrow will become today. To quote Mahatma Gandhi “The future depends on what you do today.” Today is yours. Today is ours. This day can shine like a miracle. Strengthen your resolve to endure and prosper. To succeed, we the people of the world can pledge ourselves to the promise of peace and love. The fog of uncertainty and doubt will pass. We the people of the world can find a way – if we work together. Keep the faith in each other. …You and I are children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of the one supreme being, a hand extended to all, offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all. – Kahlil Gibran