Stand together, stand strong. We will overcome. Once I talked about how we all can be a small boat, and do our fair share to lighten these times. Today I want to talk about how we are all in the same boat. Therefore: stand together, stand strong, that’s how we will overcome.
A male voice echoes through the empty darkness in the streets of Italy. A famous opera song bounces back on the silence of the night. There is nobody out there, except for the man on his balcony. The man with the voice. The song of the hearts.
In another street, at another moment, music floats from one balcony to another, from one open window to another. Music fills the void of human interaction, while filling the hearts with connection and solidarity.
On a square in Spain an aerobics teacher shows his latest moves. He is on his own, in the middle of the square. Yet, he is not alone at all. In the surrounding buildings, people stand on their balcony and make the same moves. It is time to move. Time to act.
While the world has been obliged to keep distance between one another, we have never been more connected. And no language is more universal than the language of music, the language of movement. No matter what I feel, no matter what I think, the moments I feel most lonely or lost, there is always one language that shows me the light and brings me back on track: it is music.
The aerobics teacher in Spain, the opera singer in Italy, they all are the small boat. By sharing their talent, and using it to create connection and solidarity, they to the best they can to overcome this crisis. Look in your heart: which talent do you have to share, to bridge the gap and to express solidarity?
The Biggest Gift of All
We might feel us alone, but we are not alone in this. We are all on the same boat, and while connecting with our beloved ones is crucial, this is the time as well to connect with those you don’t even know the face off. With those you don’t even know they are walking the same streets as you when going to work, who are doing groceries in the same supermarkets, who might be crossing your road daily, yet never crossed your mind.
In times we can no longer physically embrace one another, especially not those outside of our inner circle, it is time to embrace solidarity.
What happens in the streets of Spain and Italy, as well as in all those streets where they showed gratitude the other day for health care staff, is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity: solidarity.
Throughout history mankind has achieved a lot, for the good and the bad, but no single individual has met any of these achievements, but by standing together. Therefore, I emphasize, stand together, so we stand strong.
Working Together for All
Earlier on this week I had to be in the pharmacy – a non-Corona related issue – and when walking in, I felt the tense atmosphere. People were agitated, and the product I asked for was quickly handed over to me, as in ‘get out of here’. I saw the fear in the men’s eyes before I noticed the ‘stop’ sign on his desk. ‘Stop if you have the symptoms. Stop the spread of Corona.’
I looked around me and absorbed my surroundings. The anxious people behind the desk, the anxious people in the pharmacy. My own fear and judgement disappeared and a warm glow of compassion fell over me. I wished I could give them a hug, a thumbs up, a wink to tell them it’s all going to be ok. But in times of social distancing, I just said ‘Thank you’ and tried to give my biggest empathic smile, to bring a bit of joy and love, understanding and solidarity to their hearts.
Brave as the people of the health care sector, are they standing here in the pharmacy, doing their fair share, at risk. How could you not be full of respect and even proud of them?
Later I walked to the supermarket and read a pamphlet, signed by all big supermarket chains in Australia. They asked for respect, for patience, for understanding, for responsible behaviour; and above all, they asked for solidarity.
Solidarity with the elderly and disabled ones who would be slower in shopping; solidarity with the suppliers who try to keep up with the increased demand, solidarity with the staff in the shops, who do the best they can to keep up with the increasing sold-out items. They ask for solidarity with one another. It was titled “Working together to provide for all Australians”.
Standing Together for All
This is a time in which we cannot come together, but in which it becomes crucial to work together. We must be inventive to close the gaps caused by the social distance. This is a time that appeals to our biggest human gift; that gift that makes us unique and has allowed us to create miracles from the pyramids in Egypt through the complex globalised virtual world we are part of now. This is a time that proofs once more that we are stronger together than alone, that we are able to work together and stand together.
The Belgian virtual reality and gaming startup Cyborn is one of the millions of companies trying to survive the lockdown economically. All employees are due to home-officing now. Yet, they spread the message: “Stay Safe. Stay Home. Stay at your Service.”
In times when physical distance is the norm, we depend on our ability of solidarity and creativity to bridge the gap. Therefore, let no wall silence your voice, let no solitude take away your humanity, your dignity and your solidarity.
Show your solidarity by being respectful and patience, towards people still working as much as people around you. The strangers and the beloved ones. We are all under stress and in exceptional circumstances. Be patience, be compassionated, be loving. Even a smile, a wink of an eye, or nodding your head; all signs of compassion and solidarity. Let each other know you are with them. Let each other know you have their back, to the people who are still out there and working, as well as the ones who are in lockdown. We are all on the same boat.
Stand together, stand strong. We will overcome.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read on how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness, on how you can contribute to this battle, and on how gratitude lights up the dark. Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.