We are experiencing great contrasts. In a time where we want more closeness we’re called for social distancing to protect life. Our desire for closeness is reignited after a long winter. In a time where we need the stories of the elderly to recover wisdom for uncharted waters, children and young people are asked to keep their distance. But as we live in voluntary or forced quarantine, we do not only start bumping into each other but also into old friends who lived it before us. Here is the first. Meet Noah’s family in lockdown, and listen to Noah’s three tips for our Corona quarantine.
Seek to be beautifully creative
“I witnessed 40 days of rain, closed inside a makeshift home. We called it an ark. And before we could go out for a walk, it took us another 40 days for the waters to subside and return back to “normal”. We were also asked to stay in, as a family. But not on our own: caring only for our own needs. We cherished all the diversity of creation. We found ways of protecting it. We could close the doors only after opening our hearts for every kind of species. In the first 40 days we realised that before we were messing things up. Firstly, we messed up with greed – following Adam and Eve’s attempt to take hold of every single tree – we ended up becoming enemies of each other and of future generations. We forgot what a blessing it is to respect limits and be creative within them. Living in the ark was an opportunity. We saw that it’s possible. So my first hope is that your first trials with a quarantine lead you to be beautifully creative not senseless hoarders.
Rediscover unity and connection
Secondly, during the quarantine we realised how we were seeing each other as enemies. After Cain killed Abel nothing stayed the same. Each of us thought we were some kind of god, the only god: everyone and everything at our service. If someone wouldn’t subscribe to our view and expectation – whether another human being, the weather, the land – we fumed. We destroyed. We felt authorised to manipulate creation and use or kill our “opponent”. Living in the ark taught us how to live together, that we belong to each other, that we need each other. We are one. Thus my second hope: during this quarantine may you rediscover unity with other human beings and connection with all of creation.
Empower diversity and learn from the “weak”
When the rain stopped and we thought it’s over, we needed another 40 days. It’s easy to get it wrong. Thirdly, following our exit from the ark, people imagined that we can achieve unity through uniformity. They wanted to build a big tower and have one language: the powerful imposing one culture from above, destroying diversity. Thankfully God preserved the different languages, the wisdom of different cultures, the richness of those whom the strong consider weak. So take care! Don’t rush before going back to “normal”! Don’t take extreme measures that will destroy freedom. Seek ways of building unity of humanity by empowering diversity and appreciating the contribution of those who appear weak. And re-discover the beauty of caring for the common good. Had we not done that within the ark, we would have destroyed each other. Had we eaten all the species, the new world would have been boring. And don’t assume that you were not heading that way. At least that’s what I learnt from my quarantine.
P.S. During the first 40 days we did try to give some advice to God on how to make a better world. But we realised that each option we presented would result in humans loosing their freedom. God was adamant on not letting go of that invention. Without it there would be no relationship, no collaboration, no trust, no solidarity, no music, no art … no life really. When we saw this, we could see the rainbow!”