Back in 1990, rapper M.C. Hammer released a tune entitled “U Can’t Touch This.” Now M.C. Hammer was referring to the idea that “U” couldn’t “touch” — come close to him — to match his talent and ability in music, lyrics, rhyme, and dance. But if I may, I’d like to extrapolate this to our current world situation. A seemingly unstoppable bundle of ribonucleic acid wrapped in a protein coat is spreading death and destruction throughout the human population. The grim tally has left many of us survivors terrified and wondering if we’ll be the next victim of this modern-day black plague.
But take heart. As terrible as this virus is, and as much as it’s taken away our freedom of movement, human contact, and overall sense of safety, there are some things that, to this virus we can boldly say, “u can’t touch this.”
COVID-19 can’t touch the love we feel for our spouses, partners, family, and friends. The fact that we can’t make contact with them right now doesn’t diminish the love we feel for them, and our ability to demonstrate that love. If we can’t hug and kiss them, we can still talk to them via Zoom or the good old-fashioned telephone. We can write e-mails and texts, or even good old-fashioned pen and ink letters. We can visit them at their residences and talk to them from six feet away or through glass windows. Togetherness may be hindered, but our ability to express love is never halted.
COVID-19 can’t touch our creativity. We may be stuck indoors and unable to work a regular job, dine at restaurants, or attend public events. But if you open your newspaper, turn on your television, or browse the internet, you’ll see all kinds of stories about people creating new forms of stay-at-home-entertainment, online concerts, virtual graduations, and other ways of bringing us amusement and diversion. I’ll bet my whole garden harvest double or nothing that by the time this is all over, new inventions and businesses will have been formed, all stimulated by the needs that this virus has created. They always have been, and I expect they will be again.
COVID-19 can’t touch our human spirit, generosity, and resilience. It’s a cold hard fact that this virus has laid us low. People are getting sick and dying from it, and we still don’t know all the effect that may show up later in the survivors. But every day, you hear about people banding together to deliver food and other necessities to those in need. Groups of people are organizing parades to wish shut-in children a happy birthday. Businesses and other organizations are busy sewing masks to give away to those who need them. Scientists all over the world are working together night and day to find a treatment and/or a vaccine for this terrible disease. And while there are still news stories about selfish politicians and other individuals who place a higher value on coin-of-the-realm than on human lives, there are also plenty of examples (that you don’t always see on the nightly news) of those that want to serve and help their fellow man. “Look for the helpers,” television personality Fred Rogers once said. “There will always be helpers.”
Lastly, COVID-19 can’t touch the human ability to reach out to a higher power. Whatever your religious faith; whatever deity you pray to; whatever higher power you turn to when the well of your human efforts has run dry, nothing – not the virus, not a poor economy, not selfish politicians, not anything can ever come between us and the higher power we turn to.
There is no doubt that the virus has knocked us down. But it has not, nor will it ever knock us out. It may take several months, or even a year or two, but in the end the human race, with its love, creativity, human spirit, generosity, resilience, and ability to tap into a higher power, will eventually triumph.
Oh, and one more thing. When the events of the world seem overwhelming, turn to your garden. Plant a new one or cultivate an existing one. There is nothing like being out in nature to lighten the load of world events. Audrey Hepburn once said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” There will always be a brighter tomorrow, no matter what things may look like today. And few things can brighten a tomorrow (and a today) like a well-cultivated garden.