My thoughts this week have turned to Anne Frank. For two years, Anne lived in hiding in a small attic with five other people in a secret annex at her father Otto’s work to escape Nazi persecution during the second world war. She was discovered by the Nazis in 1944 and died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February 1945 from exhaustion.
All Anne had to occupy her days and her mind was a diary.
For many of us, the world stopped turning this week, save for the insidious march of an invisible enemy moving stealthily through our midst.
It has been horrific to watch the images from Italy.
Overflowing hospital wards, newspapers with pages and pages of obituaries, and lonely lines of hearses outside cemeteries as mourners remain in isolation in their homes.
We are all anxious, scared, uncertain.
In the midst of all this chaos, there have been moments of unparalleled compassion, humanity, and sacrifice.
The Italian tenor who serenaded his neighbours from the safety of his balcony in self-isolation.
Neighbours helping neighbours.
Big corporations doing the right thing, looking after their employees as best they can and donating money, food, and rejigging production models to manufacture much needed medical supplies.
A group of kids performing a front porch concert for their elderly neighbour.
And the heroes on the front lines, health care workers coming out of retirement, working long hours in grim conditions and jeopardizing their own health to take care of the sick.
History has challenged us before. It will challenge us again. If the worst most of us have to face in the coming weeks ahead is boredom and uncertainty in self-isolation, we should count ourselves blessed.
Ed. Note. If you haven’t heard of an app called Nextdoor, download it now. It connects people in neighbourhoods and is full of people offering to help higher-risk individuals in their community right now with whatever they need in self-isolation.