…Smile when they are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by, if you smile through your fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow you will see the sun come shining through, for you…
The song above has an interesting history.
I’ve found it to be true: After many years of hardship, especially during the pandemic, things are finally looking up again. But just as Charlie Chaplin – although more lucky in some ways – I’ve found as so many people around the world:
When life is sad or difficult you learn to smile to lighten the burden(s).
The song above was originally a piece without words for a film of Chaplin’s, one of his masterpieces. He was there in the beginning of the art of movie making, he improved it and became a master and an inventor with awards and special mentions all around the world. He knew, too.
Especially in hard times you comparatively quickly learn one thing:
Walk on, let go, do not look back.
In the bible there is this story about a God-fearing and pious man called Lot – and Lot’s wife. When God in this story tells Lot that he and his family should flee his hometown in order for God to be able to let an earthquake destroy its population as a sign and a punishment, they do so.
And although they are told to follow the guardian angel and on no account look back so as not to be turned into pillars of salt – Lot’s wife is disobedient: She looks back. She is turned into a pillar of salt – and so to this day lives in the (sub)-consciousness of many a Christian or Western person. Not Lot on his own merit, but by his wife’s action, and thus ‘Lot’s wife’ has become immortal.
For looking back.
On the surface the story tells us that being pious means being protected. Yet, I also think that the looking-back part of the story is the most important aspect:
However serious or even catastrophic the situation may seem: Looking back saps your strength and your energy to go on. Continue with life.
I’ve found that true many times, and even though I have seen lots of hardship, pain, suffering and death of loved ones, I also consider myself lucky, compared. I have seen love too, closeness, friendship – and being ‘connected’ to other human beings who know a thing or two about life as well.
The idea seems global really, Buddhism has it, other religions and cultures know it:
Letting go of suffering, walking on, try to avoid pain that may be obvious in advance, from experience…
The choice of what happens is not always ours – the choice of reaction is. Always.
Making the vaccination mandatory was high time. Here in Austria it will become so in February 2022. I am grateful even if one might wonder if it is not a little late.
We have seen similar laws before, for example in connection with the plague, lockjaw (Tetanus), and last but not at all least polio. All of them are dreadful diseases.
COVID-19 is no different. The sickness makes breathing a pain, weakens the whole immune system, weakens the heart, and more. People die, every day. Since the pandemic started, millions of people have died all around the world.
‘Long-COVID’ is known already as a combination of conditions that persist often more than a year after getting through the sickness: Breathing impediment, a weak heart, weakened immune system and more. For all those who actually caught the disease it means: More pain.
It is an almost noble idea to try and get people who are doubtful or even in denial to be vaccinated without making laws to ultimately punish.
But there are limits to everything.
Children as well as grown-ups suffer from these lockdowns, close, open, close again. Wear masks, observe physical distance.
Of course there are those that are lucky: They know what working in the home office means. Who have devices all around them.
But a pandemic and people’s lives as well as businesses are no game, no monopoly!
Let’s remember for all those details we get every other second on all channels:
Viruses follow patterns. They have for millions of years on this planet.
This grave sickness is real and it is severe, not just a photo on Instagram.
Mandatory Vaccines against the Plague, Poliomyelitis or Lockjaw (Tetanus) are basics. No one doubts for one minute how important they are. Dreadful diseases, each and every one of them.
The plague was a scourge – and still would be if people hadn’t been mass-vaccinated into the 1970s when I was still a child. It was considered a merit, not to say a virtue to be vaccinated against it. Since then the plague has been basically extinct globally.
But the Corona-virus vaccines are still a matter of discussion in political bodies – as regards making them mandatory?
How is it possible?
Haven’t we seen enough people dying – or seriously sick with dreadful symptoms, especially in the respiratory system?
Isn’t ‘Long-Covid’ – as a summary of symptoms persisting months up to a year after an infection and surviving it – ‘plague’ enough?
What has to happen in terms of costs, billions and billions all around the globe, dollars, euros, pounds, you name it… until proper laws are made, at last?
How many doctors and nurses have yet to be brought to their knees, figuratively speaking, in terms of severe fatigue, burnout, and eventually quitting their jobs?
Does no one have a heart for them?
It’s incredible – tragic, not to say cruel.
What are legislative bodies afraid of, really?
The official WHO (World Health Organisation) video on how it is faster and still safe in these times to approve new vaccines:
In these times I’d like to remind all of us of the ancient saying that stems from the Habsburg monarchy, meaning the tradition of the dynasty not to make war, but love, you might say:
that is, they married smartly throughout Europe in order to tie bonds of kinship with courts all over Europe, to keep the peace rather than make war.
The Latin origin of this actually wonderful concept from the year 1384:
Bélla geránt aliī, tu félix Áustria nūbe.
Nám quae Márs aliīs, dát tibi díva Venūs.
Wars may be led by the others, you, lucky Austria, marry!
‘Cause what to others is Mars, Venus, the goddess grants you.
So, it’s perhaps the earliest possible dictum of ‘make love not war’?
I put this here just for feeding thoughts… and perhaps to invoke a smile on my readers’ lips…
In these hard times, we should remember, it’s not about being best or first in blaming!
Blame politicians for small(er) errors in the face of a pandemic?
Blame officials for being too harsh – or not harsh enough?
Blame hospitals for not saving beds in order to be prepared for taking care of more people?
Blame everybody for lockdown measures, because the economy is suffering worse than ever before?
Yes, it is true, tragedies arise from all of this; many have lost their jobs, their livelihood(s), their prospects of a promising future, for quite some time…
But let’s remember these few very important facts:
the lockdowns are about people being kept alive!
the economy suffers always, in pandemic times!
in ancient and medieval times any pandemic plague wave was so much more worse at every turn!
dead bodies literally lay scattered in streets!
trade or any other kind of contact practically was impossible, because people would die right there in the room, in front of others, often in the middle of a negotiation (try Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Decamerone“).
decades would pass until things were back to something equalling normality.
death tolls ran up to millions of people in each realm, leaving whole regions empty, villages deserted.
We should remember how lucky we are, compared, here in the middle of Europe:
a high standard of living to begin with.
heaps of fast available data, being provided practically every second.
technology and research at an all-time peak in order to develop and approve vaccines inside of months!
a large part of the population agreeing on the value of each human life!
there were times when lives were reckoned by society strata: so much for a worker, so much for a merchant, so much for the king…
information based on a huge amount of well-educated reporters, journalists and scientists!
even more data available on every aspect of possible business strategies to get us all through this.
I dare anyone out there complaining harshly about measures taken:
be a politician and do it and decide – in ADVANCE!
Tu Felix Austria, remember, this is a wonderful country of ancient history, tradition, innovative ideas, culture and thought, with usually friendly, and very peaceful people, who know how to work – and how to enjoy life!
Italy, among others, and its tragic situation make it quite clear: health care, even around here has limits. Each and everyone of us can be responsible for infecting someone else, without our conscious knowledge, due to the Coronavirus’ infection pattern and ensuing sickness.
The Corona pandemic is one of the largest catastrophes yet to hit the nations around the globe. In some countries, situations resemble those of war, in peaceful times. Almost everywhere, you can find information, some more some less reliable. Here, in the middle of Europe, we are comparatively lucky… health care systems are among the best of the world. Planning and information are usually well prepared and easily accessible. Almost too much so.
Some people therefore tend to underestimate their own contribution, but I’d like to encourage all who read this, again:
Think of the consequences, stay safe.
It’s not always just about being ‘brave’ if you are not part of the medical staff yourself. It’s not about proving to be ‘above panicky people’.
Statistics here teach: since we all could infect at least three other people, before we know it, someone because of our carelessness will catch the infection and then has to be treated in a hospital’s intensive care unit. And those are limited even in the richest of nations.
So, if they ask you from your nation’s official channels, stay home, wear masks to go shopping, where required. Stay safe. Be responsible. And remember, one day, the worst will be past. And the stricter we keep to these rules, the sooner.
Thanks to all my neighbours and all others I know and the millions I don’t, who stay home – and safe, for themselves as much as for others!