Hello to you all – handwashing, disinfecting, social distancing friends! What a time we are going through! I hope you are all taking good care of yourselves and one another and maybe discovering some new ways to see the world, your lives, and new ways to create joy and creativity in your life.
I remembered the other day that famous quote from Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls”, so I decided to do a little research on him (since I had the time :>D).
Almost 250 years ago, Thomas Paine authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain. It was a time of great peril and uncertainty and many of his famous quotes from that time seem profoundly relevant today. Not just relevant, but wise, sane, hopeful and worthy of consideration. Here are a few to think about:
These are the times that try men’s souls.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.
The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.
We are certainly in a time that is “trying”, definitely challenging and extremely uncertain. In addition, we are learning very clearly what we value – what is dear to us: being in closer contact with family and friends, spending as much time outdoors as possible, helping others get groceries or pick up prescriptions – all of these are dear to us.
As we face the challenge of the Covid-19 virus – not as a just as individuals, states or nations, but as a global family – we face the truth of Thomas Paine’s third quote. The world is being forced to hit the PAUSE button for the first time in I don’t know when and recognize that we are truly one family and we are all called upon to do good in whatever way we can.
The next two quotes give me tremendous hope: time for reflection, rethinking and reason, “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”
I believe we are in a time of deeply rethinking things as a result of this pandemic. We may be asking ourselves and each other: What can we learn from this? How can we take something better into our world when this is all said and done? Especially when we notice that –
- The water in Venetian canals is cleaner than they have been in decades…
- The air quality in China, New York, Los Angeles, London is vastly improved…
- People have formed online choral groups with hundreds of members worldwide – just for fun…
- People in Italy who are on total lockdown, spontaneously bring instruments out onto their balconies and began to play together and sing to comfort, support and bring joy….
- Families are having Skype and Zoom get-togethers; friends are having online Happy Hours; spiritual communities are forming “chat teams” where phone calls are made every day to their members just checking to see how they are doing….
And that’s just a fraction of how we humans are responding to this crisis. Millions of people are practicing the simple religion of “doing good”. It absolutely gives me hope and optimism – this is who we are as a human family.
Today, we are faced with trouble of many kinds, but as Thomas Paine so wisely said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again” so that our children and grandchildren may have peace.
All it takes is each one of us practicing the simple religion of “doing good”. Be good to yourselves and everyone around you, near and far!
Love and light, Kathleen