No doubt the year 2020 will be analyzed, written about, cursed and eulogized over the coming months and years. We will all agree it's been a year quite unlike any other! While I don't pretend to be comprehensive in what I think humanity could learn from this year, I'll look back with 20/20 vision and list some things I think are important.
Of course, the most important event of 2020 was the novel coronavirus and its related disease, COVID-19. It has affected everyone in various ways. Here are some lessons we can list:
- This virus has touched the lives of everyone on the planet. What else can you say did the same?
- It has taught us that the greatest sign of love is to be apart from each other, as difficult as that may be, in order to keep each other safe.
- Being apart from each other has taught us about the value of relationships, how technology has become so indispensable in staying in touch with each other, and the value of real communication, from the heart.
- The virus is largely spread through the air, through the droplets spread from unmasked talking or breathing. It is invisible. In this way it mimics words, whether spoken or written, in how they can affect others. Are our words filtered with some sense of empathy and kindness, or are they unmasked with venom? Words affect others just as much as virus cells do.
- It has shown that the virus can strike anyone, regardless of wealth or status, but it tends to affect those who have been historically marginalized in a more serious manner. The cracks in our health care and societal support systems have been laid bare with this pandemic.
- It has taught us the value of science and objective study. Hopefully, people will come to learn that conspiracies and politicization are potentially harmful, and that well-regarded, well-researched news media are the best sources for action.
- It has taught us to be grateful for the little things -- a beautiful sunset, the gleam of a water droplet on a flower, the warmth of a pet on your lap, the smile from a loved one's face via Zoom.