As it appears, we may be finally reaching the end of the pandemic. But this is only what appears; and of course, the pandemic has taught us that what “appears to be” is not always what will occur.
Two years ago, at the onset of this global pandemic, many of us thought it was an event that would last a few weeks, or perhaps a couple of months. But as time went on and we followed both global and local news updates, we found ourselves on a rollercoaster of a ride. When the numbers escalated, we grew nervous and worried. When they began to dwindle, we saw the cup half full. Only to find the scenario repeating itself multiple times.
Through this ride, we had to adjust. We had to adjust individually, as families, as colleagues and as companies. We had to adjust emotionally, socially, spiritually and economically.
While the pandemic has not yet officially ended, the WHO has started discussing when the pandemic could possibly be declared as ended.
While we wait for an official declaration regarding the conclusion of the pandemic, it would be naive to proceed with our lives without reflecting on a few of the many valuable lessons learned from this pandemic.
Our Limited Scope and Knowledge as Humans
Regardless of how quickly science and technology continues to evolve, it would be foolish to say that our knowledge as humans is limitless. We simply have no idea what the future holds. At the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, many of us had plans. Maybe some had their calendars filled with events. But life, almost suddenly, came to a halt. The days passed and filled agendas and calendars suddenly were useless.
An evident display of our human weakness was vividly portrayed before our very eyes. If we truthfully acknowledged the fact that no matter how carefully we plan, we still do not know what tomorrow holds, we would lead more peaceful lives. We would practice the concept of complete trust in God in a more genuine manner. Only He holds knowledge of the future and only His Plan is good for us; we just have to wholeheartedly believe that.
Life is Not Constant
Life is continuously changing. Good times do not last forever and difficult times also do not last forever. Adapting to those times is one of the keys to getting through them. But adapting with strong faith takes adaptation to a whole new level. A person who tries to adapt with faith, patience, gratitude and hope in God is more likely to be able to come out of the pandemic either a better person, or with better ideas on how to lead the rest of their life.
Don’t Wait to do Good
During the pandemic lockdowns and closed borders, a thought always came to mind. There are virtuous deeds that may require movement or travel. Like volunteering to help the less fortunate or physically helping weaker people. One of the main virtuous Islamic obligations that requires travel is the Hajj pilgrimage. I increasingly thought of the remorse that must have been felt by any Muslim who had the physical and financial means to embark on this journey in 2019, but were overcome by procrastination. The following two years, the doors of Hajj were internationally closed only opening for a few locals. It is definitely a heart wrenching feeling to have the means to go, but suddenly be blocked from doing so. The pandemic taught is that in doing good, hastiness should be our motto, simply because it is not always up to us to decide when we will be able to do it.
The Pandemic taught us to get closer to our family. This may seem ironic, given that we were locked up with our families until we were tap dancing on one another’s nerves. But surprisingly, many busy parents and kids realized that they did not know one another very well on a deeper level.
Being forced to remain under one roof for months allowed families to spend more time together and understand one another more. Through online schooling for example, parents got to see their children as students. Their strengths were evident, as well as their vulnerabilities. As life continues, we should especially pay attention to those living with us and make an effort to give them the support they need.
Give Kids Some Credit
The younger generations around us were among the most affected by the pandemic. When schools were suddenly shut down, they were glued to screens (and chairs) for the most part of their day. Their holidays and religious celebrations became virtual and they almost forgot what it means to have friends. But children do deserve recognition for how smoothly they adjusted during the pandemic. Of course every family experienced bumps along the way, but both parents and educators alike expressed awe for how quickly children were able to adjust their lives according to the new pandemic lifestyle.
They sported masks through long school days and learned not to get too close to others. They went from being told to stay home, go to school and stay home again. Based on this, it is safe to conclude that sometimes the role of children in society is underestimated. They have amazing abilities to adjust to the environment and even bring about the best in every situation. Going forward beyond the pandemic, they should be permitted to engage in decision making, even on a minimal level and given more responsibilities.
“A pandemic is caused by a pathogen but is experienced as a social, cultural, political and psychological event. As such it can intensify or wane somewhat independently of what the virus is doing.” – Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post
A Pandemic without the Internet?
A concluding thought that never ceases to make one think is how people who went through other pandemics did so without the internet. The value of the world wide web was one of the greatest lessons gained from this pandemic. Due to this blessing, education and a great deal of jobs were able to proceed. We were able to keep in touch with loved ones who were distanced by land or glass barriers. At times when we were locked indoors for consecutive days and nights, the presence of the internet became our window in the world. As we realize it’s value through this pandemic, let us learn to use it in a manner that is effective, truthful, honest and beneficial to ourselves and our communities. Abusive usage of the internet through dishonesty and trolling has psychologically and financially hurt many lives.
The pandemic taught us that we as humans need one another to thrive and live on this earth. And while the WHO determines if we have reached the end or not, we acknowledge that only God knows exactly when the end is. He also has hidden countless blessings and lessons in the past couple of years; we just have to make an effort to extract them, brush ourselves off and continue living with stronger faith in Him.