Dear COVID 19, we are stronger than you think.
A guest post by my 17-year-old daughter, Emily Hart, who wrote this letter for Rhenish Girls High School’s newsletter (published with her permission) May 2020
Dear COVID 19, we are stronger than you think.
This ‘letter’ is written to COVID 19, not for coverage, not to give you any more undeserving attention, but to tell you that us, humans, are not as easy to break as you might have thought.
You see, initially, you, COVID 19, thought you had us by the neck. You saw us stockpiling and thought we’d turn on each other, fighting in the isles over toilet paper and soap. But, what you were unaware of is that behind the scenes of this frenzy and after the initial shock of you, we’ve been stockpiling in something else.
It’s not canned goods, it’s kindness.
We’ve been gathering up all the kindness and compassion in our veins and began to build a stockpiled-tower of it. Now it is our turn to be the virus, we are spreading kindness like a wwildfire;we are the new you and the confetti of our kindness cannot be contained.
Initially, we feared you, COVID 19. But now, we’ve learnt that the damage of what you do does not just lie within the physical harm, but social and psychological damage. While that may just scare us even more, we’re learning to conquer our fears. When you appeared, we were seeking answers about who you were and how we would handle this new infection in our society. But since then, we’re moved onto other, bigger questions. Now we ask what we can do to help each other, what can we do to build the human race up in unity? Have you seen the solidarity funds, or the prayer groups, or the online school support systems? Have you seen how we’ve outgrown you?
You tried to break us; you thought social distancing would tear us apart. But you’re wrong! Even though our bodies are distant from each other, our hearts are connecting. Instead of taking something from us, you’ve taught us a precious lesson. You’ve given us an education on what it means to be human. You can take away our physical touch, but never our hearts’ desire to keep in touch with loved ones. You’ve taught us that all we have in this world that truly matters, is each other. All that matters is phoning our grandparents, checking up on family or face-timing friends to keep the connection alive. In a time where materialistic things like clothing shops, restaurants and driving around aren’t available, we’ve remembered what is actually essential – each other. You’ve given us perspective.
Oh, and by the way COVID 19, if you thought that separating us humans would tune us out of the world, you’re wrong. We’ve turned into something you didn’t expect – our creativity, our conscience, our soul. All this time in isolation made us find connections within the part of us that we forgot were there. You’ve given us days worth of time to simply sit in front of a blank canvas and slowly apply bold specs on colour on it. You’ve allowed us time to pick up the guitar and learn how to play a song in front of the fire. You’ve given us the chance to bake, learn a new skill, or even simply just to sit with our eyes closed and listen to the birds while soaking up the sun. Our traditionally busy schedule of a ‘normal’ day didn’t give us this time, so I would like to thank you, COVID 19. You’ve taught us how to reconnect with our inner selves.
Lastly, COVID 19, we know you thought you’d crush our souls and fill us with despair. While at some stage we might have thought no good would come from you, we’re fast learners and now know different. You see, something unpredicted is happening. Nature is healing. You’ve stopped us from continuing to emit those horrible carbon emissions or pollution. Our planet is coming alive, in a time when you thought you’d kill it. You’ve given mother nature the chance to bloom and spring forth new vivid colours of life. Ecosystems are mending and coming out of hiding. The atmosphere is filling up with clean air for a change. You may try to damage us, but you’ve given us the chance to return to a greener, healthier world when this is all over.
Now, this isn’t all to say you haven’t caused any form of destruction. We’re not ignorant to the suffering, pain, and loss that you’ve caused. We’re not ignorant of the fact you’ve made us forget what it feels like to wear jeans, or shoes, or go out to restaurants with a group of friends. However, we’re also not ignorant to the fact that you’ve given us something – a chance to reconnect and slow down. You may be a thief of some of our freedom, but you’re an educator on teaching us to live at a slower pace.
So, if you thought you’d break us. You thought wrong.
Emily (Class of 2020)
Emily says that she was born with a passion for story telling, and after moving to Cape Town, she began my quest to find the best life moments that are worthy of these stories. “When I’m not writing, one might find me playing around with the camera lens, trying new ice-cream shops with friends or painting while humming to some music in the studio. I’ve traveled to over half a dozen African countries, including Mission trips to orphanages in Mozambique, and working with Syrian refugees in Jordan – these all influencing my writing.”
Read her blog here as she shares experiences from the eyes of a young girl and tells the stories of humanity, our common similarities, and the inspiring stories of both bravery and suffering.