‘These are the times that try men’s souls’, wrote Thomas Paine in 1776. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have surely tried men’s and women’s souls but for most of us, the wars and illnesses were on far, off distant shores. We heard of them but we didn’t experience them first-hand.
Now an enemy is threatening all of us, on every shore. It is already stripping away our fairweather façades and laying bare our true characters.
So, who are you? More importantly, who do you want to be when all of this is over?
Yesterday, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board reported that bottles of hand sanitiser are being stolen from their hospitals in North Wales.
We all feel the dread that tempts us to do anything and everything to protect ourselves and our families from the coronavirus. But tomorrow, you’ll have to look yourself in the eye and know that you monopolised a bottle of hand sanitiser intended to protect a hundred and used it to only protect yourself. Because of your selfishness, someone may be come infected. Before they realise it, they’ve already spread the virus.
Is that who you want to be next week? Next month? When all of this is over and life returns to normal, you’ll have to live with the person you became during this crisis.
Recently, I visited Asda Leckwith Road Superstore here in Cardiff, hoping to top up our cupboards. The shelves were bare. Definitely no loo roll. I found myself lingering in the empty aisles, snapping a few pics, just to wrap my head around this surreal situation.
Caring for your family’s actual needs by purchasing supplies they will use is prudent. But hoarding necessities to use as currency? Next year, your conscience will have to live with the fact that you drove a hard bargain with a needy young mother when you negotiated a trade for fifty nappies.
Is that who you want to be? The real person this adversity reveals is the person you’ll be stuck with for the remainder of your days. Who do you want that person to be?
It’s easy to be a nice person when you feel well. It’s not a challenge to be kind when you have plenty. Most of us have never had the true mettle of our characters tested by adversity or the threat of adversity.
‘Now is the [Spring] of our discontent’ to misquote Richard III.
Will it be ‘made glorious summer by this sun of’ our kindness, our generosity? Or will we discover that we are not the people that we aspired to be?
The choice is up to you. Don’t do something today that will haunt your conscience for the rest of your days.
Photo by OakleyOriginals