As we wait with bated breath for a medical breakthrough, even the toughest of us find ourselves going through a rollercoaster of emotions – that of fear, anger, vulnerability, and perhaps in those particularly low moments, loss of faith. In coming to terms with the harsh realities of this pandemic, we have, curiously enough, found comfort not in absolutes but in honesty and cautious optimism. And Queen Elizabeth’s historic televised speech yesterday delivered exactly that. It was forthright but hopeful.
While acknowledging the magnitude of this pandemic’s devastation, she reminded us that it’s a plight we share with the rest of the world. And there’s gravitas to the Queen’s reassurances, that “better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again”, because she’s seen for herself the savages of war. She was, for those 4 minutes, everyone’s granny to whom we run to for wisdom and solace.
Another inspiring message that came out of the Internet recently was that of Matthew McConaughey, whose spontaneity and ability to connect was just something we needed. The actor reminded us that in fighting an enemy that’s “faceless, raceless, sexless, non-denominational, and bipartisan”, there’s a need to look to our higher selves. That it’s not time to succumb to the “lowest common denominator,” but to come together, because, as he so perfectly put- “every red light eventually turns green” if we stick together. We hear you, Matthew.
And then there’s TV network CBS’ campaign “We’re all in this together,” where it enlisted over 50 of its stars to remind viewers that “you are not alone”. The spot featured, among others, Iain Armitage from Young Sheldon, Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green, NCIS: Los Angeles’ LL Cool J, The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan and CBS This Morning’s Gayle King.
And who better to inspire us than the ever charismatic Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, who joined New Jersey’s other famous residents to announce the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. “These are uncertain times,” Springsteen said. “What is for certain is the pain, the fear, and the real needs of many of our neighbours, our friends, and certainly all of those who are on the front lines of this pandemic”. The video also included Danny DeVito, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Carli Lloyd and Charlie Puth.
But some of the most profoundly touching and inspiring messages, did not, in fact, come from celebrities. They came from common folk who themselves were trying to come to grips with the seriousness of the situation. In a touching video that’s since gone viral, students in the Chino Hills High School Chambor choir sang a heart-wrenching rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, to send a message of inspiration and hope to other children around the world.
Over in Dallas, Texas, a resident looking out his window from his apartment started to serenade his neighbours with Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me”, and others joined in. A classic morale-booster that’s been an anthem for spreading positivity and camaraderie, “Lean On Me” has been heard countless of times throughout this epidemic, from nurses on duty in hospitals to families in quarantine.
Oh how the beautiful words of this classic mean volumes now, more than ever. Care to sing along?
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