What We Have in Common

Given the amount of suffering being experienced the world over, it seems wrong to consider any possible benefit that might arise from the pandemic. That said, hope is the only antidote I know for despair. And it’s in the spirit of hope – and a prayer – that I offer this possibility.

Have you ever exited from a movie or play and felt a rush of connection with those crowded around you?

Have you ever broken the ice with a complete stranger by discussing a book you’d both read? Or a TV show you both watched?

Have you ever been victim to a large scale disaster such as a wildfire, an attack, or a flood and found yourself consoling (or being consoled by) someone you’ve never met?

I’ve experienced all of the above and can attest that for better or worse, the sharing of a common experience or pain can draw together even the most disparate of people and encourage everlasting bonds between them.

As I watch young people around the globe suffer the calamity that is the pandemic, I can’t help but imagine how this shared experience – and the recalling of it – might serve as a bond that unites them in the future.

Just imagine people traveling to different countries after this. For the first time in history, everyone – ever single person – will have had their life altered – at the exact same time by the exact same event.

Could the future recalling of this shared cataclysm act like glue to draw people together as never before?

Though everyone’s experiences will differ in the details, they’ll all share that one simultaneous source.

I can’t help but wonder how this commonality, this ubiquitously shared event might wield the power to bridge differences in the future.

I’ll admit, the idea sounds wildly optimistic. But given our current position, lodged firmly in the darkest hour, it feels necessary to at least consider hope.

Photo Credit: Kalyan Varma

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