OPINION

Holding onto hope in the time of coronavirus

HOLD ON: Yes, 2020 is presenting us with many difficulties. But if we do not give in to despair, we can experience a rebirth.
HOLD ON: Yes, 2020 is presenting us with many difficulties. But if we do not give in to despair, we can experience a rebirth.

I find myself on what may soon become the most dangerous page of a newspaper - the opinion page. Although we are all constantly and very concerned about what will happen this year, does anyone among us know for sure what will?

A young mother rang me in tears the other day and she's given me permission to tell her story.

She asked me "What do I tell my daughter? She keeps asking me questions about COVID-19 and I don't have the answers and she's stressing out because she can see that I'm stressing out!"

I advised her to "tell your daughter she needs to follow all the protocols and you, mum, need to assure her that everything is going to be all right"

"I can't!" she replied.

"Well then, hide in your bedroom and bawl your eyes out," I suggested, "and after you've cried, get up, dry you're eyes, and then go tell her that everything is going to be all right."

She laughed a little because she thought I was joking - even though I wasn't - and she said: "I don't know if I can be that confident about the future."

"Well, I don't know the future," I responded, "but really, what other choice do you have?"

It's something to muse on over the possibly long, uncertain and - hopefully - boring road we have ahead of us in 2020, that when we realise our alternatives in the battle against COVID-19 are only either hope or despair, the choice is obvious.

To choose hope in a crisis is actually the easier path, once we have willingly chosen it. If you doubt this, just recall what happened recently when enough people despaired of the future availability of toilet paper.

Those people who panic bought created the very beast they were trying to avoid.

And the panic buying has now brought something worse.

As has already been reported, panic buying has triggered supermarket price hikes - and now at a time when tens of thousands have just lost their jobs. When a poor old pensioner feels compelled to cry out to the world in despair "$7 for lettuce is ridiculous" well, I'm not sure we should blame all these problems on the virus.

To choose hope in a crisis is actually the easier path, once we have willingly chosen it. If you doubt this, just recall what happened recently when enough people despaired of the future availability of toilet paper.

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister stated that: "Together, and with the rest of the world, we face this unprecedented challenge - a once in a 100-year event, a global health pandemic that has fast become an economic crisis, the like of which we have not seen since the great depression."

Mr Morrison went on to warn us that: "Life is changing in Australia, for every Australian.

"And life is going to continue to change. For many, young and old, 2020 will be the toughest year of our lives."

I must say, it all sounds horrible. And this was supposed to be an article about hope!

But hope is not ignoring the bad things and even tragedies in your life - hope is acting on your discovery that they can be overcome.

What great person do you know of never had to face difficulty?

When you've met people who have never faced problems in their life, you will have noticed they are usually very young and always very annoying.

Jesus would never have told us to have courage and to "be not afraid" if difficulties meant "the end".

The Big Bang theory is my favourite theory of evolution.

Not just because it was devised by Father Georges Lematre - a priest from Belgium - but because I love the idea that all and everything beautiful we can see came from explosion and chaos, and this is wonderful to see.

But there is something even more beautiful and miraculous than the entire universe put together; and that is ourselves.

A maternity ward may be clean and even sterile; but the birth of a child takes place in blood and confusion, and it is the beginning of the most wonderful thing in the whole world.

If you can hang on to hope in these massive difficulties of 2020 and do not give in to despair, you will likely experience something akin to a rebirth that will help keep you brave for the rest of your life.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee