Better Angels of Our Nature
It had been an emotional roller coaster for me early in the week. More troubles with my mom, a sad anniversary of loss, anxiety and fear as the COVID-19 virus became a reality in Vt, and finally, the disappointment of cancelling our performance for Ibutwa. I am sad for my dancers , especially the younger ones who have worked so hard, and maybe don’t quite feel that the journey and work together are reward enough. I am upset to not be raising money for Ibutwa, and the lost opportunity to shine a light on those women and girls who so badly need our help. It was a hard decision to cancel our show. We perform in a small space , far less than 250, technically we could have gone on. But ultimately, it is my deep conviction of connectedness that drove my decision.
We must all do what we can to contain this virus, to slow it down , flatten the curve* and conserve our resources for those who truly need it. We must as Abraham Lincoln said, respond with the better angels of our nature. It is easy to get angry , frightened, and judgmental. The harder path as adults is positive action. Perhaps it is easier for the young. This past Wednesday when I told my dancers at a mini rehearsal between classes that our show was canceled, I could see they were upset and sad. They took that energy and started cleaning the studio. Siblings joined in for an intense thirty minutes of scrubbing and scouring. Not one tear or angry word, just a beautiful group response of “we can help”. Those beautiful children inspired me, and got me right off that awful rollercoaster. So we must all ask ourself, how can I help. Hopefully, we all know to stay home when sick, wash hands etc. I would like us to think bigger and perhaps with more kindness. I am seeing a little us and them start to play out.
Some schools are already closed and many people
are working at home. Other schools are trying to figure out what to do about children who may get as many as two meals at school. Do those schools close preemptively and children go hungry, or do they stay open and try for social distancing within a small classroom. What about parents who work jobs that cannot be done at home, and who might not have the ability to pay for child care. What about those who work in a field where if you don’t work, you don’t get paid... say the dance world:).
It so easy to be committed to staying home and flattening the curve, when it is not an economic hardship to do so. I would like to see us all pull together without judgement, believing that we are all doing our best. Let’s all help each other out. If you are able to stay home, open your house to the children of those who can’t. If a friend has a big deadline or project offer to homeschool for her that day. Stay away from the hospital unless it’s an emergency. Remember that heart attacks, strokes, accidents and cancer are not taking a vacation. And yes, it is smart to stock up on food and supplies, (though I must say the run on toilet paper is inexplicable). But, if you have a car go to the grocery store and leave the drugstores for those who live within walking distance and might not have cars. Offer to shop for those who cannot, or who may be in greater danger of complications from infection. Remember, that most of us will be fine if infected, but some are more vulnerable. It may not be obvious who these people are, so withhold judgement.
It is time to really think of others, especially those not as economically fortunate. It is time to be generous with our thoughts and actions. It is time to be patient. If we are lucky we can slow down this virus, and avoid the trauma and tragedy that is happening in Italy. We can learn from their mistakes and perhaps cut the head off this viper. We can also learn from the spirit of the Italian people. They are all in lockdown, stuck at home with perhaps only a balcony for a change of scenery. Their response has been to sing (left). People, (most notably an opera singer) are raising morale and singing alone or together from their balconies. The better angels of their natures have triumphed. May we all do likewise.