Grateful To Coronavirus

Unlike many others who experienced nothing but death and torture in the Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl, in addition to him being subjected to extreme sufferings, found meaning there. The brutal education Frankl received during his three-year incarceration, gives no credit to the camps and/or their operators. On the contrary, the vivid exposure of inhumanity at the camps enlightened Frankl of the humanity beyond the camps. As the French novelist Victor Hugo said “those who do not weep, do not see,” the camps made Frankl weep only to enable him to see.

At this stage of the novel coronavirus pandemic, I try to hone my personal experience on a sense of profound gratitude. At times when news of the expanding pandemic takes over the air, I try to remind myself how blessed I’m to breath freely now and without a ventilator. And as the threat of infection pings me over and over again, I try also to focus at the current moment that I’m not infected and how should I spend the blessings of my remaining time balance.

We are told that many thousands of people are tested positive every hour around the world, and that hundreds bid farewell to our human family at this time. Majority of those infected by the virus, hopefully, will recover soon and will continue to enlighten our moments. As we see people recover, how cannot we be grateful to the amazing health workers who take personal risks and help cure others?

Our weekly smartphone usage data has clearly skyrocketed over the past two weeks because we spend more time on social platforms, gaming, videos and news. In fact, against previous advice, screen time is recommended amidst coronavirus-related loneliness crisis. We see some friends share beautiful quotes and stories that inform and inspire us to live purposely and meaningfully throughout this public health crisis. Others, we hear and read, are spreading panic by hoarding toilet papers and other essential commodities we all need some for convenience. Many of us are very fortunate to receive the latest news promptly, to reach out to and talk and see loved ones from afar and to listen and watch whenever we wish so.

As we take ownership of the many blessings available to most of us, however minimal they might be compared to others, we cannot but accept that this pandemic is also ours.

Indeed, in the past life was different. We lived that time too. But we cannot go back to 2019. As we own the current moment along with its offerings, including COVID-19, we should try to get, what one expert said, “factual hygiene” and avoid believing in and spreading the alarm bell about any imminent mayhem. We can’t fix the future only by panic and anxiety. Humanity is best served by compassion, empathy, wisdom and rationality. Whenever we lose sight of these invaluable principles, we all suffer badly, history warns us.

Life is impermanent anyway. If not COVID-19 or any other illness, we’ll all take our last breath sometimes in the near or far future. Life is not merely an account of years. Life is a chance, short or a bit longer for some of us. It’s a chance against an ultimate sense of regret and guilt. Our last breaths could either be with remorsefulness or with humble contentment.

We do not know everything about COVID-19 and that’s fine, but we do know that today, this hour and right now we can take a compassionate step towards our final sense of contentment.

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Polyglot journalist

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Akmal Dawi

Akmal Dawi

Polyglot journalist

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