In the end, when living under extraordinary conditions, with intense worry excluding no one, causing suffering for many, we discover a profound reality: I exist because you exist.
What we are experiencing nullifies everything that we were taught and have believed in since we were born. It’s like a gigantic centrifuge has captured and imprisoned us in swirls of fear: for ourselves, for others, for the elderly, for young people, for the future of the whole world.
However, something quite amazing has risen from the depths of many, many people’s hearts. This something is manifesting outside with joyful solidarity. It accompanies our next door neighbor, the family in the building down the street, our city and our entire country.
It happened almost as soon as the rules were instituted: No one can leave their home, except one person per family per day to buy groceries or for other certified emergencies. Social media was filled with messages and appointments for flashmob signing, playing music together, lifting spirits, uniting the surrounding buildings so that we could feel close to one another. Throughout the entire country, today there was a big round of applause at noon to thank hospital and health care workers who are working day and night. Many artists, also confined to their homes, play music or perform theatre which they then publish online. In some cities there are signs on top of buses thanking those who still have to work. Children hung big rainbow banners outside the windows of their apartments saying “Everything will be fine”.
Tomorrow, March 14 at 9 pm, everyone in Italy will turn on their cell phones to show the satellites circling above that we are still here and that we will make it out ok. People are generously donating with a new found certainty that funds will go directly to the immediate needs at various hospitals. Grocery stores and pharmacies bring food and medicine to elderly or disabled people free of charge thanks to volunteers. Various sites where you can watch films and TV series have put all their programming online with free access … These are just examples of hundreds of other creative initiatives.
Of course all is not well, and there are always people who are irresponsible and superficial. But we have discovered that loving is better than hating. That it is beautifully moving to listening to music from our balconies together, all across the country at the same time, from Palermo to Turin. That it’s fun to trade jokes, photos of recipes and satirical cartoons; that this virtual embrace is really something quite beautiful.
There are situations of great lucidity followed by confusion. We moved from Rome to the town of Attigliano just an hour before the national quarantine. Not much is happening here, but It’s pretty quiet here most of the time anyway.
A group of humanists recording videos from home is making an appeal to the human being. The videos will be compiled and then published online as soon as possible.
This situation is certainly not easy, not easy for anyone. There are moments of discouragement, of resignation and moments in which one just breathes. I am really grateful for social media that makes us feel closer, keeps us company and provides us with news quickly. It’s important to use it wisely.
We will keep in touch hope to hear back from you, but for many, many weeks this is the news we will be navigating. We’ll continue the journey together!