So let it be written…
An ancient Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times.”
No one can say we are not. But how we choose to live these days, and the lessons we learn during Pandemic 2020, could very well be life-changing, and – despite the threat of contagion – perhaps even beneficial.
Just weeks ago, among many people’s biggest concerns were outrageous ICBC premiums, high taxation, traffic congestion, that sort of stuff. All still very good reasons for apprehension.
And let’s not forget all that outrage people express, in all kinds of mediums, about everything, everywhere and all the time.
For several months after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, with a total death toll of 2,996, the United States was in a State of Earnestness.
Eventually, though, America soon fell back into worrying about the silly things movie stars and pop divas get up to.
But at least for a time, there was some sober reflection.
This grave threat we now face, of course, is on a global scale. How we respond to it as individuals, with social distancing, is everything. Also important is the lessons we learn about life, and what really matters.
Many years ago, a friend told me a story about a college professor who stood up in front of his class one day holding a great big glass mayonnaise jar filled to the brim with golf ball-sized rocks.
“Is this jar full?” the professor asked. His students replied in the affirmative.
He then produced a pail filled with small pebbles, and poured them into the jar. They tinkled down into the cracks between the larger stones and settled in.
“Is the jar now full?” he asked his students, who by now were giggling.
Once again, they agreed.
Finally, he pulled out a small box of sand and poured it into the jar, filling what space remained.
This wise professor then told his class that the glass jar symbolized their life. The golf ball-sized rocks represent what really matters – family, friends. Your health, their health.
The pebbles, he continued, are still important, but not as much, such as your job, your car…
And the sand was the small stuff – things we typically break a sweat over, but really shouldn’t.
The point of the lesson was to bring home the fact that if you pour too much sand and pebbles into your jar, there won’t be any room left for the rocks – you know, the things that really matter.
It’s times of crisis when we especially value the rocks in our lives. The pebbles and the sand? Not so much. But sometimes, when the storm subsides, we all-too-often turn our attention back to these lesser things.
As we pass through this COVID-19 horror together, may we all find our jars filled with precious rocks. And after the storm passes and we venture into the new normal, whatever that will look like, let’s remember to cherish our jar of rocks, and never let go of them,
The sand can stay at the beach.
So let it be done.