It has been five months since we first met. I had heard of your brother when he visited us 18 years ago, but I was too young to fully comprehend what his presence meant to the world.
Fast forward to 2020. A grown adult and a father of two, I now possess a clearer picture of how the world works and what your arrival and existence is doing to us.
I am not blaming you. After all, what is the point of blaming a natural occurrence? Some people view your arrival as punishment for the human race and its collective and perhaps somewhat irresponsible behaviour, but I think you are here to warn us. To warn us that we are unprepared for possibly far worse attacks that are now seemingly inevitable. To warn us that the direction and pace we are collectively moving at is not sustainable and will eventually result in our own demise. And most importantly, to warn us that what we have now is precious and that we should all learn to practise unabating gratitude, never taking our lives for granted.
On a larger scale, millions of people have been infected and hundreds of thousands have died. Companies are folding, people are losing their incomes and forced to stay at home as fear haunts them. Chaos ensues with people taking to the streets to protest while countries turn on each other as deeper and darker secrets are revealed. It does feel like the end times.
But if we take a closer look, for most people in the world, families are together. We are finally taking the time to notice and look carefully at our loved ones and more importantly, at our own selves. Our bonds as a community and as families are strengthening and for many, we are becoming happier.
Do not get me wrong, you are a killer. This is one of the most tumultuous times I will ever experience in my life. I have witnessed how savage you are as you inexorably bring destruction to so many families who are now suffering the consequences of your ruthlessness. But if anything, you have undoubtedly gifted me with grit, patience and compassion. Tough times build and shape character. Thanks to you, I have been standing up to my fears as I strip away my frustrations. Thanks to you, I will no longer focus on the things I cannot control, and instead, on the things I can. And that, COVID-19, is what will put me in good stead to become a better person – for my family and for my country.
So thank you, COVID-19.