• Malynda Hale

When the world stops, LISTEN.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s been happening in the world lately, as I’m sure you all have been too.

Last month (truly the longest month I’ve experienced in my lifetime—it felt more like an entire year!), the world came to a screeching halt. As COVID-19 sped and continues to speed rapidly through country after country, we’ve been left dumbfounded as to what to do and if there is any end in sight. We’ve been worried about our jobs and livelihoods, muttered about how we’ve been inconvenienced, and frustrated at the lack of leadership by our current administration and the irresponsible behavior of our peers who just don’t seem to take this pandemic seriously.

Personally, I’ve found myself going through a wave of emotions: I’ve been grateful that I’m healthy and have a home to stay in with my family; I’ve been frustrated because I haven’t been able to see many close people in my life whom I love; and I would love to be able to prepare for returning to work. I’ve been able to preoccupy myself with the birth of my baby girl, but the stress of the situation looms over me ever so often. It’s given me pause and made me wonder what the bigger picture in all of this is.

I consider myself to be a very spiritual person. I classify myself as a Christian and I believe God truly has a plan for everything, even when some things are hard to accept. So maybe it’s not surprising that I’ve sat in reflection and had conversations with close friends about what this all means. I’ve realized quite a few things and lessons that I hope everyone takes the time to think about.

We are all privileged to an extent, some more so than others. But when we’re stopped in our tracks, when our routines are interrupted and work is taken away from us, and when we’re left to figure things out, it gives us a reason to appreciate what we had. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of being comfortable with our current situation that we never think that in the blink of an eye it could all be taken away from us. Where it’s a relationship with someone, a job that we too often complain about, or the fact that we are given 24 hours in a day every single day.

I’m guilty of it. We all are.

This isn’t meant to take anything away from the devastating effects of this pandemic, which is honestly beyond words: people can’t pay their rent, businesses are being forced to close, people’s mental health is at stake and even worse, people have lost their lives.

It’s about slowing down and taking stock of what we value—what’s been lost and what we still have that’s worth holding onto. For instance, being stuck at home has made me realize how important my friendships are, how much a freaking incredible partner my husband is, and how blessed we are to have a home to stay safe in.

But this is also about what we can do for others given these extraordinary circumstances. This pandemic is an exercise in collective action. It’s teaching us—if we take the time to listen—about humanity. It’s gauging how much we value another person’s life. Being told to stay at home for the safety of yourself is one thing, but when it also puts the safety of others in your hands, how will we act?

When the world has stopped and we’re made to slow down, we must choose to listen. Listen to what really matters for ourselves and for the lives of others.

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