COVID-19 Opinion

COVID-19: How we always valued a pause

Humans have valued stops for as long as they have been on Earth.

By Maha Alfadly

“I feel like we’re living the days of invasion all over again,” my mother expressed her worry to my father who was fidgeting with his hands anxiously, recalling the horrors of the Gulf War approximately three decades earlier. The Covid-19 outbreak, the pandemic that has paused the world, revived painful memories my parents had wished would go away. Both of my parents stayed in Kuwait during the war as volunteers, offering their help and providing food aid to those who needed it. “History repeats itself all the time,” he responded in his characteristically calm voice that he always managed to maintain under any situation.

His statement ringed in my mind. I have always thought about history. History was always a very interesting subject to me in school.  Every significant historical event marked the death of an old version of life and announced the rebirth of another era. Every important date announced a change, good or bad. But most students hated memorizing those dates, including me. We would always articulate our frustration with the typical question, “Why does it even matter?”.

Fast-forward to today, it seems to me that we are living through an event that will be documented in textbooks, and the following generations will probably complain and say “Why does it even matter?” when they read about it in class.

This sudden pause has disturbed so many people around the globe. Some think that we have reached the end of a blocked tunnel. Some are triggered by past traumas and are being tormented by their ghosts. Others are searching for ways to just pass through each day as they have lost interest in everything. Many still are using comedy as a coping mechanism to distract them from their own horrors.

And who am I to blame them? Without warning or prior notice, many of us have been asked to stay at home and, in some cases, to forget about our jobs, studies, and everyday lives in order to remain safe. Of course, many of us will panic!

But if we think about it, humans have valued stops for as long as they have been on Earth. They have put them at the end of every sentence to give them meaning. You find stops in conversations to allow a surge of new thoughts to follow.  Stops have been used on the streets to regulate movement and make it seamless. A pause, a stop, silence, they all exist as parts of the bigger symphony of life, preparing individuals for what’s next: a rebirth.

I spoke to one of my friends lately and explained to him why I think this pause is very important for our growth. I stated that we should take into consideration the fact that we have always pleaded for a stop to be put to our lives. We beg for a stop when life becomes too hard to bear. When the noises in our heads become too loud. When we are pushed outside of our own comfort zones. When we lose that sense of absolute control and our two spheres are too exhausted to deal with it.  We  roar, “Stop!”

So many around the world have been praying for life to slow down. And now it has, for an indefinite period of time. It could be months or more.

“The sickening routine and the programmed robotic movements of our bodies are on hold, and it is time to visit and connect with our souls for a sense of clarity,” my friend ended our conversation.

Yes, this event will be another chapter of a history book, but this time, we are the ones who will experience the growth and clarity of the rebirth.

Maha Alfadly is a 22-year-old Kuwaiti English literature student and artist.

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