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Opinion & Analysis

Strength in Dark Times

Stephen Ignacio

By Ana Sharma
We are living in troubled times; times that keep us wide awake, till the early hours of the morning, with one eye open, and a restless spirit. It would seem that there is little hope to be had; our countries’ economies are failing, successful businesses are closing down, the sagely pillars of our family pyramids are dying, people cannot feed their loved ones, and are struggling to find jobs. The streets are silent; almost as though the world has frozen, immoveable.

There is no laughter, no joy; nothing to look forward to, for, when the world is in midstep, deterred from all action, what is there to look forward to? It would seem that life has stopped, and alongside it, us too. So what do we do? How do we find a way to continue living in the current climate of the world? How can we find our way back to life?

We connect.

Throughout this pandemic, my greatest source of comfort have been my loved ones. With my family by my side, watching Netflix together, during a study break, drink in hand, more united than ever. My friends, texting and calling, remembering the important things and to check in. All these little, yet significant things, in the midst of so much social inactivity, have given me comfort and life, as well as my inner sense of contentment. We need to find a way to connect again, and, above all, to appreciate that connection. How many of us took for granted the ability to see each other, in the square, and have coffee with a friend, or have brunch with the family on Sundays? How many of us took for granted a simple hug, or the holding of hands, a kiss? And how many of us wish we could do those things once more, and this time, truly appreciate them?

We must not see the pandemic merely for what it outwardly is, but search for something deeper. We often say that we don’t appreciate things until we have lost them, but do we really mean it? Do we really heed the wise call of those words? I am certain that all of us will after this is over.

Yet, my question is: Why does it take us losing things that are precious to us to make us realise that we are fortunate and blessed to have gotten this far? We are all warriors, clad in armour and strength; sometimes we fall, because we are not superhuman, we are only human. But there is great strength and power in that humanity, if we choose to make use of it. We are empathetic, brave, compassionate, loving, strong, and stubborn, yes, too. We can overcome the hard times which befall us, but perhaps, to do so, we must look inwardly.

Solitude is said to be the very thing that forces us to probe within ourselves, to search long and hard and deep, for what lies within us. Perhaps, we must take a look in the mirror and see what we are, what we truly are. Only then can we begin to see, when we have been so blind. Let us look and see that we haven’t appreciated the simple and good things in life. We want extravagance, and parties; a life full of adventure, but when all that fades away, what is left? Who are you when all that is no more? And who will be with you when you are left all alone, the glittering lights dim, the truth staring you in the face? Perhaps discovering the answer to that question might allow us to get through the pandemic, which has been gruelling, to say the least.

We can overcome this. We can. But for that, perhaps we must see a lesson in all this; to appreciate what we have, when we have it, when it is clasped between our fingers, and not when it is long gone, sailing away into the distance. Hold your loved ones tight, tighter than ever before, put your phones away, embrace love while it is yours, and remember that life is transient, ever-moving and unpredictable.

Don’t wait for the Grim Reaper to knock on your door and take you as his own to make your life matter, to be with those who matter. Love now, don’t wait, and hold on. The clouds will slowly part, and, through them, the light will trickle in, slowly at first, then all at once.

Ana Sharma is an aspiring writer and musician. She can always be found reading, writing, singing or listening to music.

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