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May 3, 2020

I’m sitting at my desk sorting out which topic(s) to touch upon in today’s entry: The rapid rise of coronavirus cases and deaths in Russia; angry protesters in America demanding the lifting of mandates and return to normal life; worst case news that a vaccine for Covid-19 may never be found; or unemployed chefs, waitresses and engineers in Britain are taking jobs at farms. I could feel tension building up around my neck and shoulders.

Then I hear Louie calling my name from the living room. “Athena, you’ve got to see this!” Oh no. I drag myself down the hallway, stand in the dining room and fold my arms. “What is it?” He points to the television. There on the screen was my favorite romantic comedy, “Something’s Gotta Give,” starring Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Keanu Reeves. Suddenly, I was sitting on the couch getting lost in my favorite scenes. Louie looked at me and said, “You’re even wearing a white turtleneck!” (Diane Keaton’s character, playwright Erica Barry, favors turtlenecks.)

It took all I had to return to my office.

Then, The Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader, and former President George W. Bush came to my rescue. They summed up the need to put this crisis into perspective:

The Dalai Lama: Looking down on earth from space, no boundary lines exist. People need to focus on “what unites us as members of one human family. As human beings we are all the same. We experience the same fears, the same hopes, the same uncertainties, yet we are also united by a desire for happiness. Only by coming together in a coordinated, global response, we will meet the unprecedented magnitude of the challenges we face.”

George W. Bush: “We are not partisan combatants. We’re human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God.” “Let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery.”

And as I watch road work on my street taking place in front of my house, every crack in the road has been patched up before being covered with a new layer of asphalt. When it is done, we will feel a welcome freshness – like a new start. If only we can smooth out the fissures of humankind.

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