Charo – People are losing their cool with this pandemic business. No doubt these are complicated and confusing times. How do we keep our happiness, or even our sanity, in a time when no plans apply, when we can only be certain of uncertainty, when we hear about death statistics several times a day? How do we stay positive?
Kalpana – Maybe if we stop staring at our own navels and thinking we are the centre of the universe and turn our eyes to the people beside us. Maybe think of what can we do for them, instead of what are they thinking of us. I believe that would be an advance.
Charo – Yes. Connection. Empathy. Solidarity. Long lost words. If one good thing should come out from this predicament is to teach us humility, to remind us of how frail we are and, at the same time, how unique. We have today with us Reverend Kebede Dibaba, from the Peace Lutheran Church of Fort St. John. For those who know him, you know Rev. Kebede is a force of nature, a generous spirit full of humanity and energy, so I feel so thankful to count on his wise advice today. Rev. Kebede, what is your personal view on this mayhem?
Rev. Kebede – Well, first of all, we need to remember that pandemics are not new. There have been many remarkable pandemics throughout history and humankind survived, so we need to keep our perspective. Also we need to ask ourselves, what we are putting our faith in. Most people put their faith in the government, in money, in appearances, and when confronted with their own mortality, their support system falls apart like a house of cards.
Kalpana – I agree. Replacing religion with money or politics is bad business.
Charo – Yes, normally if you abandon your spirituality, or your connection with the universe, or whatever you want to call it, someone or something is going to take over, and it’s normally not beautiful.
Rev. Kebede – Yes. People are abandoning God and finding very poor replacements. When situations go wrong, we always tell ourselves there is always a Plan B, but COVID-19 is not allowing us any Plan B. It is leaving us naked with who we are, with our humanity. And I feel that God is calling us back to our consciousness. He wants us to wake up and become fully aware of who we are and give our precious life to the One who sacrificed Himself in our behalf and took our shame and guilt upon Himself.
Charo – And I feel that is wonderful advice, Rev. Kebede. Wake up and give your life to Jesus, or Mohamed, or Brahma, but at least, simply give your life, because I don’t think a life can be lived satisfactorily without being given to others. It becomes a languid and tasteless biological process.
Kalpana – Yes, turn your eyes toward those who have never had a Plan B, those who don’t shiver when hearing the word pandemic, because they have always been devastated by malaria, typhoid, polio, or being killed by diseases that are old history for the Western world.
Charo – Since we hear about death so much lately, maybe think about death in a more profound way. Do you want death to find you empty and with your life still in its original package? Or do you want to open it, with the enthusiasm of a little child, tearing off the packaging with big hungry eyes, and abandon yourself to its miraculous infinite potential?
Kalpana – The true miracle, brothers and sisters, the only true miracle, is love. Open your eyes and your arms and jump fearlessly right into it.
Charo Lloret is from Spain; Kalpana Loganathan is from India. They write on their experiences immigrating to Fort St. John.