"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The immortal words of Charles Dickens have never rung truer than now, during the age of COVID-19 and the global pandemic.
Horror and hope are intermingled daily, reminding all of us about the limits of our power, and the trust and faith that we must put in the Almighty.
This global plague has taken the world by storm, forcing us to physically separate from one another in a fashion that would have been unfathomable just a few months ago. Our lives as we knew them, the daily grind, have been replaced with a new normal defined by terms like self-quarantine and social distancing. Yet, within our hospitals, medical professionals are placing their lives on the line as they come face to face with very ill people, trying to deliver healing and help to those stricken by this insidious disease.
Here in the United States we like to think of ourselves as the epicenter of the world. All too often, we focus on ourselves and how global events are perceived through the prism of our own patriotism and self-proclaimed American exceptionalism. But across the globe, mankind is being humbled by forces far beyond its control. Whether you choose to think in terms of God or of science is of little difference; the consequences are the same.
Even in this land of plenty, with the world's most advanced medical care, we are struggling to survive this surge in sickness. Just imagine how much more dire the situation is and will continue to be in places without the benefit of monetary resources. The body count will surge higher and the impact will be even more pronounced.
Yet, when I outside each morning to jog, there is a palpable difference in the air. It is quieter, sweeter and more nourishing. Without the endless drone of emissions-spewing vehicles, you can feel the improved environment and hear the birds chirping cheerily. My running is stronger, my energy higher, my mind quieter.
Never before have I seen the true character of my colleagues on fuller display than during these difficult days. My staff at Howard Stirk Holdings has met the challenge with poise and professionalism. The team shows up each day (even from home) to deliver the news and stories that are our solemn duty in the greater service of keeping the public informed.
Yet, just miles away, some of my friends, family and neighbors labor to breathe, painfully afflicted by COVID-19. When you know someone whose life is on the line, this plague becomes real and its impact becomes personal.
The nature of the disease necessitates that we physically pull away from those in their greatest hour of need, which illustrates the cruelty of this horrible virus. All around us people are in desperate need of physical connection and love, but instead we must separate from them and make do with video chats instead of warm embraces.
In the days before this virus ran rampant, we liked to delude ourselves with false narratives of our self-importance. But our utter frailty and impotence in the face of God has been laid bare for all the world to see.
Sadly, those who obsess over the coronavirus by watching an endless stream of horror on television and spend their entire days following the carnage on social media are also terrifying themselves and making themselves sicker. They are, in effect, giving up and waiting to get sick and die.
This virus was here among us before we had a name for it, and it will continue to exist long after we are gone. My brother had it. But he kept faith and fully recovered, as so many will. The fear of this pandemic is nearly as destructive as the coronavirus itself.
This moment in our lives is forcing a reset and a rethinking about where we choose to invest our time and our energy. It is shaking our confidence, but in so doing it is reminding us all that we humans are base animals, powerless in comparison with the forces of God and nature.
We do not have a fraction of the power and control that we think we have. We are beholden to forces far greater than our own, and we are at its every whim.
What coronavirus is showing us clearly is that we all need each other, and that mankind needs God.
To find out more about Armstrong Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: DarkWorkX at Pixabay