Amid COVID-19: What Good We Can Do In Our World

A blanket is pulled to cover the body of a patient after medical personnel were unable to to save her life inside the coronavirus unit at United Memorial Medical Center, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Houston (photo: AP Photo/David J. Phillip).

I made my 2021 resolutions while reflecting upon the unique challenges 2020 had presented.

In the new year, I decided to be grateful, generous, patient, humble, spiritual and forgiving to the best of my ability. I know these are too many promises. To me, however, they’re linked and complementary.

Our democratic process was tested. Divisive politics were a source of arguments and discord among friends, neighbors and family members. Since the presidential election is over, each of us has a role in leaving its ugliness behind — to overcome political divisions and heed the call of unity by President Joe Biden.

Our health system is overwhelmed, and our ability to live a normal life is challenged by a virus. The new vaccines offer hope, if it would find its way into our arms.

Our off-kilter economic seesaw made last year a financially consequential one. Racial tensions reached a new high adding to the tumultuous period, tearing into the nation’s fabric.

So, in the new year, I’m setting a broader goal based on those yearlong 2020 experiences and the trials we faced. I think I echo the attitudes of many of my fellow Americans who are in my shoes:

To be grateful for many blessings: In an economy threatened with shutdowns, I acknowledged advantages I had taken for granted —  a steady source of income, a roof over my head and food on the table. I’m thankful that it wasn’t me who had to worry about paying the rent or a mortgage, standing in a food line or figuring out how to keep the lights on.

Workers on the frontlines have always been essential. It took us a pandemic to honor them. I’ll remain grateful for their service, to pledge not to forget their contributions in the coming years.

Last year motivated me to be generous. I opened my heart and my wallet for the needy, knowing the neighbor next door may not be so lucky. I felt happy to share with those who aren’t so blessed with the privileges I enjoy.

It was the year that made me humble and spiritual. COVID-19 bared the thin line between life and death. On many days, more Americans died in a single day than on 9/11. I came to realize my temporary existence on Earth as never before — it’s a humbling reality. A global uncontrollable spreading virus woke me up to the fragility of life. I thus became God conscience, and conscience of the Hereafter. I learned to pray often and to be compassionate and kind.

It was a year I promised to forgive. I had a taste of unexpected serendipity. COVID-19 showed us our lives are far more interconnected than we know. The internet brought people together from coast to coast with many who hadn’t spoken to each other in years, to celebrate happy occasions and to find support at sad times — it offered the opportunities to see and even smile at faces they had sworn never to see again or tolerate their presence. The distances narrowed with a click of the mouse. It was an unqualified bright spot.

I ask my family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to join me in my 2021 resolutions and aims. Collectively, we can surmount divisions from a bruising election and overcome the worsening challenges presented by the virus that doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, Democrat or Republican, or whether be Jewish, Christian, Muslim or none.

Victor Begg is a Muslim community activist and interfaith leader who lives in Fort Pierce. His latest book is “Our Muslim Neighbors — Achieving the American Dream; An Immigrant’s Memoir.” 

( Source: TC Palm, USA Today Network )


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