A Deadly Virus Provides Lessons to Learn
Submitted by Maureen Kroning, RN EdD
Like most of us, the COVID-19 virus has forever changed our lives. Working as a Nursing Supervisor, in an acute care hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been the most heartbreaking experience in my life. Watching the hospital staff from doctors, nurses, nurses' aides, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, case managers, engineers, food service, and housekeeping as well as many other departments come to work each day has truly been inspiring. Witnessing the kindness of the community who drop off homemade masks, donating food, posting signs on their lawns and the endless amount of support and thank yous to those working in essential jobs including healthcare has been heartwarming. It has meant more to me than words can say to have my own family by my side as I cry from witnessing patients dying without family and friends at their side and without a proper funeral or burial. As each one of us deals with the effects of this pandemic, there are lessons to be learned.
The virus has slowed down the day to day activities that keep most of us busy and not really thinking about what makes us truly happy, what brings joy and peace to our lives. The virus teaches us how precious life really is and that one day we have the gift of life and that in just one moment that gift can be threatened and even taken away from us and the ones we love and care about. The virus is a wakeup call to reexamine life as we knew it; it is a chance for each of us to ask important questions such as, what makes us truly happy, what brings joy and peace in our lives and how can we make a positive difference in the lives of others.
The first thing this virus taught me, is it is not all about me, you, my community, your community, our country , their country, it is about all of us, all human beings. For each one of us is learning lessons about the virus from each: person, community, city, state and country because we are all in this together. It is a reminder that what happens to one happens to all, we as human beings are an essentially a team even though we may not act as one.
I also learned to be accountable for my role in this pandemic, to stay home when I could and to also continue my own calling to work as a nurse in the healthcare setting in order to help combat this deadly virus. The pandemic also helped me to be introspective on my own life looking at the life choices I have made, what brings joy and happiness to me and my family and how to help others feel joy and happiness at a time we so desperately need it. Reexamining my own life helped me to find areas that I needed to change in order to be truly happy, to bring joy and peace in my life. I learned just how precious our time on this earth is and how there are people in our lives that may not be good for us and actually are harmful to our well-being. This pandemic virus can allow each of us to sit back evaluate not only ourselves but those we allow into our lives. Life teachers us that people have to be accountable for whom they are, for this virus has brought out the best and worst in each of us. It allowed each of us to truly see what our character is made up of, what our priorities are, what acts of kindness we do, how much we care and value without judging other human beings and it has showed us how we care for our family, friends and the communities in which we live. It also has taught us that we are connected to a global society, one in which we need to work well with, to understand and to help when we can and in turn we receive help when needed.
This pandemic taught me that I want to surround myself by those that understand that giving back to others is how life was meant to be and if we fail to do this we will struggle to truly find joy, happiness and peace in life. I learned that we need to value goodness, kindness, selflessness and the people that possess those values, we need to value less: money, our looks, our sports players, our movie stars for we learned from this virus that the true stars, and true heroes are those that risk their lives to help others such as all our essential workers out there ensuing we are safe, have heat, electricity, food, gas, pharmaceuticals and healthcare services. It is all the essential workers that put others before themselves that we need to value, care for and appreciate.
The time is now to make a difference; to ask yourself how you can help others in times of need, to make life with an pandemic or any crisis we may face more manageable. If people learn just one thing let it be that they are kind to one another and then should we find ourselves facing another world crisis perhaps we will be in an even better place than when we started. People question if the economy will come back, the answer is yes in time it will but the real question we need to ask is what will we have learned from living through this pandemic will it be that we now understand the true meaning of life, to be kind, compassionate towards others and to be grateful for what we do have. For it sometimes takes a crisis even a pandemic, to help show us what truly is important.