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Covid-19, Compassion and Our Hour of Greatest Need

Yesterday, my “calm as a rock” husband came back from a trip to the grocery store looking like he’d seen his own ghost in a mirror.

What’s the matter?” I asked.

“ The grocery store was like a war zone, all of the shelves were bare, lines to the back of the store, hysterical people screaming, it’s like the end of the world.”

In scenes being replayed from Sydney to Seattle, human beings are devolving into a frantic, “every man for himself” frenzy of anger, blame and toilet paper hoarding. It seems the fear that percolates just beneath the surface in a portion of humanity has been given free reign and has bolted out of the starting gate, hysterically galloping away from the very things that could calm those fears: compassion, kindness, humanity.

Compassionate Souls, deep breath. We got this.

We, who heed the call of empathy and compassion, need to take a cold, hard look at this situation and ask ourselves, what we can do to be of service in a panicked and upended society.

What can I do?”

Walk in Truth:

Avoid adding to the blame game. Ultimately it doesn’t matter in the short-term where/why this virus started, what matters is how we handle it. Spreading unsubstantiated information in person or on social media is not helping anyone. We have a responsibility to be cool and steady voices, which are in short supply.

Be honest in what your needs are: if you are potentially isolated for 2-3 weeks, do you really need 400 rolls of toilet paper and 82 boxes of pasta?

Reach Out:

This situation is particularly difficult on the elderly, on single moms, on so many people whose incomes have been jeopardized. If you do have to go to the store, find out if your disabled neighbors or elderly people in your community need staples, offer to help seniors, phone your older relatives (believe me, they love it). If you can afford it, gift books/food to people through online services, help home bound pet owners with pet food.

Dig Deep:

Try to look past your own inconvenience, no matter how annoying, and try to understand what the employees of your local grocery store, hospital, or airline are going through. Lend a sympathetic ear to the local actor whose role of a lifetime was cancelled, the baseball player with no game, the suddenly stuck-at-home traveler.

Listen completely, love unconditionally.

Given the unprecedented scale if this situation, there are myriad different ways to be of service.

Our marching orders are clear, as the darkness closes in and fear, greed and ignorance take hold, it’s up to us to put our own fears at bay and step up, in light, in courage, in charity.

At the end of the day, mankind will survive because enough beacons of welcoming kindness continued burning through the darkest hours of our need.

A terrified world is waiting. You got this.


T. Rutter is Artist and Co Founder of Arte for Elephants- a philanthropic art/travel business that raises funds for captive elephant rescue through the sale of art and hosts international retreats for animal lovers that focus on ethical travel.

* On a personal note: We at Arte for Elephants have been completely overwhelmed with humility and gratitude for all of our lovely friends, fans and family who have been supporting our online store and reaching out to us during this difficult time, sending love and light to everyone.


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