In this time of mounting crisis and anxiety, there are leaders that are emerging as the true heroes of the world.
Capable and stoic leaders, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and many others, who have what it takes to lead during times of crisis and who put the health and safety of citizens first. Contrast that to narcissistic leaders who recklessly put their countries at risk because they do not believe in science, undermine experts and focus on their own short-term political interests.
Volunteers who give of their time and energy to support others. I was taken aback when I received calls from several leaders within my community to check on how I was doing, whether my family needed anything and to provide resources should we need support. I later found out that this was something that the leadership did for every member of the congregation.
The overwhelmed and under-resourced doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health professionals, who are working long and arduous shifts and risking their health to save lives. I know of one young emergency doctor who volunteered to work on the COVID floor of their hospital and sees first-hand the debilitating effects of the virus on young and old patients. He says that his world will never be the same again after what he has witnessed. Yet, he says that this is what he signed up for. Families of doctors pay the price as well when their loved ones return from the hospital, enter the house from the side door or the garage, take a shower, and put their clothes in the washer and dryer before greeting their spouse; hugging is out of the question.
The overworked supermarket workers, replenishing shelves as fast as they can, so anxious shoppers can get what they need. Cashiers who disinfect their areas to prevent the virus from invading their space so you can shop with confidence.
The undervalued cleaners, the first line of defense in hospitals and seniors’ homes, who tackle the grime and toxins with precision so that patients are not compromised.
The pharmacists who deliver much-needed medication to their patients. The individuals who deliver food so people can “stay at home”. The individuals who keep the buses, subways and trains in service so that individuals who work in essential services, can get to work. The restaurants that offer free coffee and meals to hospital workers. The mailmen (and women) that deliver mail without fail. The entertainers that adapt to this new world order and perform virtually in their living rooms, across countries, to raise money for worthwhile causes. Schools that offer free courses and webinars. Legitimate news outlets that give us the information we need to make sense of the world around us, even if it means doing so while in 14 day self quarantine (I’m looking at you Farah Nasser), or even sick and confined to the basement of their home (I’m looking at you Chris Cuomo).
And then there are MILLIONS OF HEROES – all those who are heeding the advice of the professionals to stay at home, wash your hands and practice physical distancing.
To all of you, I salute you – you are the true heroes of the world we find ourselves living in.