For those of the Christian faith, there is comfort in the fact that the coronavirus crisis rages against a backdrop of Easter this weekend.
The story of Easter is one of faith and rebirth, and for those whose lives have a spiritual underpinning, there are few messages that could be as appropriate with the world fighting against a disease killing thousands. The Easter story reminds us that where there is faith, there is hope. And where there is hope, there is reason for optimism in what is to come.
For those who are not of the Christian faith, the fact that the Easter season coincides with the coming of spring is in itself cause for optimism. Each year, the spring season reminds us that the dead, dreary landscape of the winter can be cast aside like a heavy coat, an annual reminder that renewal and rebirth are not only possible, but proven and real.
There is no downplaying the seriousness of the crisis we face as a nation and as a world. But there also is no doubt that at some point this winter of despair will lift and a new spring of promise will begin.
The Times editorial board
- Norman Baggs, general manager
- Shannon Casas, editor in chief
- Cheryl Brown
- David George
- Brent Hoffman
- J.C. Smith
- Tom Vivelo
- Mandy Harris
As dire as our conditions may be, we are surrounded by reasons for optimism.
We know that more than 95% of those who become infected with COVID-19 are going to recover and be fine. We know that social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions are working. We know that the best and brightest minds in the world are working toward medications to treat the virus and vaccines that may eradicate it in years to come.
We know that despite some shortages and inconveniences, the national pipeline to supply us with food and daily necessities continues to work. We know that we have ample access to information about the virus, its effect on our communities and neighborhoods, and the steps we need to take to stop its spread.
Even as the winds of chaos swirl around us, there is much for which we can be thankful.
We also know that this unseen enemy has, in many cases, brought out the very best in those around us, reminding us of what is possible within the family of man.
For proof, we need look no further than the nurses, God bless them, and the doctors, technicians, administrators and nonmedical staff at hospitals and medical facilities around the world, putting themselves at risk under the most trying of conditions to serve those in need. In the next few weeks here in Georgia, they are going to be more severely taxed than has yet been the case, but their commitment to the public’s health is as amazing as is the skill with which they do their jobs.
We must, too, pause to marvel at all the first-responders. The EMTS, firefighters, police officers, National Guard, emergency personnel of all description, whose job it is to step forward in times of crisis and help those who cannot help themselves. They, too, will be sorely tested in the days to come, but by their very presence they provide us all with a reason to look forward to better days.
There are so many other shining examples of humanity at its best.
The teachers, working to educate youngsters remotely when physical classrooms are no longer possible. The truck drivers, making sure precious commodities remain available for us all. The delivery workers, bringing to our homes goods we once would have purchased off the shelves. The nursing homes and retirement centers, working to protect the most vulnerable of all our citizenry. The food banks, scrambling to provide for constantly growing numbers of needy.
But for a true reminder of the best of what mankind can be, we need look no further than the everyday people who have stepped forward to help in ways we could not have imagined just a few weeks ago.
Volunteers making masks. Neighbors checking on neighbors. Cooks providing food. Musicians offering entertainment. Churches, unable to meet as congregations, but still finding ways to help those in need. Owners of 3-D printers creating personal protection devices.
Companies abandoning their normal mission to do what is needed for the common good, such as bottling hand sanitizer, despite the business cost of doing so. Sidewalk artist brightening otherwise dreary days. Signs of love and hope held outside the windows of senior care facilities. Bus drivers and school personnel delivering food to students who may otherwise do without.
Journalists worldwide putting their personal lives aside and taking extraordinary steps to keep the public informed.
On and one the stories go. Many of them have been chronicled in the pages of this newspaper, others noted on social media, or in other ways. And for every act of kindness or generosity that garners attention, there are hundreds that do not.
Confronted with the daily increase in the numbers of diagnosed cases and the mounting death toll, it is easy to become consumed by how bad things are.
But seeing the incredible acts of kindness on display in every direction, it is impossible not to be aware of how good things yet may be.
With Easter and the coming of spring, there is the hope born of faith in new beginnings. If the legacy of the current crisis is one of a renewed commitment to kindness, civility, generosity, family, neighborhood and charity, then the darkness of the current hour may be broken by the light of a new beginning for us as a society.
Therein is an Easter hope worthy of the season.