Governor Northam’s stay-at-home order is more than an inconvenient imposition; it’s an opportunity to care for your loved ones and the community as a whole.
We as humans have been through this pandemic thing before. We’ve seen members of our immediate and global families fall, and we’ve seen what the aftermath and recovery look like. And because we are human, this means we know some of things we can do this time to help keep our immediate and global families safe.
Every day we wake up and commit one single act of love. We stay home.
Because this pandemic thing we are in? It immediately reduces us to all one family, one community, one global heart and voice. On one hand, this is terrifying: I have to rely on others to be safe? But on the other, it is beautiful: I have the power to help keep others safe.
Our frontline, our “essentials,” are holding the line at the hospitals, at the nursing homes, at restaurants, at the grocery stores, at the post office, on garbage trucks, and in so many other spaces. The rest of us – those who are not asked to take the risk of the essentials, who do not have to be out there in it – can do something for that frontline each and every day. We can commit one single act of love. We can stay home.
This single act of love – this staying home – is not about giving something up, it is about giving something back. There is a Zulu word that was often used by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu when they were transitioning South Africa to democracy – ubuntu. It means, roughly, “I am because we are.” We stay home because now more than any time that most of us have lived through, we are not alone but a part of something bigger: a community, a global family. That family is at risk. But each of us can help make that family – our family – safer. This is what it means to be human: I am because we are.
Wash your hands. Scroll through something other than social media. Get outside and walk around the block. Go take pictures of birds. Go to the grocery store once a week (and thank the employees for being there). Say hello when you see a member of your extended family – we are all a family – but show them an act of love by keeping six feet between you. If you are out and there are too many people to keep this distance, go back home.
It is beautiful, right now, what you can do for yourself and our broader family and community. And as of the Virginia Governor’s executive order yesterday afternoon, it’s also no longer just a recommendation. Ultimately, it’s simple. Commit a single act of love for your fellow humans each day and stay home until it is safe for us all again. Remember: I have the power to help keep others safe.