Today’s Daily Inspiration comes from Michael Tinkler, a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees and our treasurer. He reflects on some good things that might come out of this pandemic.
When bad things happen to good people, is there ever an upside?
Let me begin by stating what we can all agree on: the coronavirus pandemic is a terrible tragedy. Millions of people will be infected and hundreds of thousands will die. Economists are unanimous in describing the current situation as the most severe downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
And yet, paradoxically, there may be some good things that will come out of these difficult times.
- Will our society ever go back to the same high level of consumption at all costs or will we realize that, in many ways, less can be more?
- Will our forced confinement and the suspension of some activities enable us to slow down in the longer term and lead a more balanced existence, where spirituality has a greater role?
- Will workplaces ever be the same, now that so many people have become accustomed to working remotely and organizations of all kinds are finding that productivity hasn’t suffered?
- Will couples and families that have been forced to spend more time together realize that that’s not such a bad thing, in spite of the inevitable frictions?
- Will we continue, as a society, to fail to provide adequate care to the elderly who need it so badly?
Maybe we’ll come out of this with a greater sense of interconnectedness. It’s clear that no country will be completely free of the health and economic consequences of the virus until every country has recovered. Our sense of social solidarity may be strengthened, as it becomes clear that we are all in the same situation, no matter what our differences may be. Perhaps this will lead to a greater recognition that we need to take better care of the poorest among us, not just because it’s a moral imperative, but because it benefits all of us.
And as we see the benefits to the environment when industrial activity slows down, will this increase our collective will to do what we have to do to save the planet from ecological disaster?
Our sacred community has responded to the crisis by moving decisively into the virtual environment, increasing participation in many of our activities and putting us into contact with people who have a history with our synagogue, but are as far away as Atlanta, Georgia and Edinborough, Scotland. Can we abandon this approach in a post-COVID world?
All of this may not be of much comfort to families who have lost a loved one and you may have noticed that the preceding paragraphs are mostly about what might happen, not what will happen. But resilience is a word that I’ve been hearing a lot in recent weeks and my faith in God and in man gives me hope that at least some of these changes for the better will come to pass. Kein y’hi ratzon.