As the old saying goes: ‘No cloud without a silver lining’. Life - so far - has always found a way to carry on, find new paths and make the best of things. Our ‘reverence’ for life has much to do with honouring that quality. With courage, fortitude and good humour, we can do our best to emulate it.
For Albert Schweitzer the first and most fundamental impulse was not “I think, therefore I am” but the natural, inborn will to live, which we share with all living creatures. He said: “I am life that ‘wills to live’ in the midst of other life that wills to live,” That ‘will to live’ unites us all and always finds some good in every situation.
Therefore, Reverence for Life today means:
- Recognising that the Covid-19 pandemic has offered the opportunity for us to undertake over-due changes of direction in significant areas of our shared activities as we emerge from our forced stock-taking during shut down.
- Acknowledging the benefits of the involuntary reduction in all forms of motorised transport in reduced levels of noise and other forms of pollution, and the possibility of taking these reductions forward into the future.
- Responding with enthusiasm to the successful transition to new, more flexible working practices for all desk-centred activities, offering the opportunity to reduce the divide between home and work locations, reduce commuting but increase work-satisfaction through increased focus on performance criteria.
- Rejoicing in the opening up of issues of healthy living, racial and all other forms of equality, mental health and stress reduction, education and heritage evaluation and status reappraisal of front-line service occupations.
So let us take courage and strength from the knowledge that even a viral pandemic can open opportunities and help us take the difficult decisions which need to be taken to meet the challenges of the times in which we live.