The summer vacation has barely begun, and we are already seeing signs that it might soon end, or at least the fun part about it. Covid-19 is returning to Israel in a big way and threatens to do this summer what it did last summer, keep us at home, or at least at a distance from each other. It seems as though nature has no mercy on the children, who only want to enjoy the summer—their brief break from a traumatizing school year riddled with corona lockdowns.
But then, why should nature have mercy on children if we, their parents, don’t? That is, through our own misconduct, we are bringing on them the lockdown that we could prevent if we only conducted ourselves more responsibly. If we were better parents, we’d do what we have to do, both regarding ourselves and regarding our children.
And what we have to do is reorganize our relationships. Otherwise, we will not be able to cope with Covid, and certainly not with the upcoming viruses that are already standing in line to plague us, and which are bound to be more troublesome than the current pestilence.
Until we learn that we must rearrange our relationships from competitive to supportive and from callous to caring, nothing good will happen. We must understand that our only cure from the virus is by healing our hearts from negative thoughts about others, developing positive ones, and connecting with the very same people we currently repel.
To connect means to understand and feel that I am dependent on others. I may live in my physical body, but the heart of this body is in someone else, not in me. And not only is it in someone else, but in everybody else besides me. In other words, each and every one of us is entirely dependent on everyone else. We don’t determine our fates, and we don’t determine our present. In fact, we don’t determine anything; our interconnections determine everything, and we only follow the dictates of this network, consciously or not.
Even if we cannot feel this right now, we should at least understand that this is so and realize that if that’s the case, then “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not some lofty motto that no one takes seriously, but our only hope of changing our lives, of shifting them toward a positive direction.
We can ignore it and continue treading the path of meanness we have nurtured so fervently for so many decades, but it won’t be long before life forces us through pain to rethink our route.
The virus isn’t our enemy; it is showing us the truth of our interdependence. Had we acted on this truth, we would not have had a pandemic whatsoever. Our social responsibility would have made us separate ourselves once we got sick until we got better, and the virus would not have spread. This, by the way, is what sick bats do in order not to infect other members of their cloud (a colony of bats). If we had their sense of responsibility, we wouldn’t be talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, certainly not two years down the line.
Because we are utterly dependent on each other, we influence each other. This is why it is so important that we monitor our feelings toward others and try to cultivate positive ones. By doing so, we will influence others, who will influence still others, even without speaking about it. Before long, that positive wave will come back to us and to our children.
We determine each other’s fate, so let’s be responsible. Let’s draw the obvious conclusion that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is our only viable option for the future. We have tried everything else and look where we are: on the verge of another masked summer. Now that it’s getting to our children, we should stop taking risks. I hope we will learn and implement this lesson that nature is trying desperately to teach us before it resorts to harsher means.
Children build racing cars as they visit Legoland at the American Dream Entertainment Mall, part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, in Rutherford, NJ, June 29, 2021.