WE ARE SURROUNDED BY INSIDE VOICES.
They are voices filled with empathy and compassion. They are eager to be more helpful, anxious to be more connected, willing to be more human.
Listen to the inside voices laughing together as they try to figure out Zoom. Hear the awkward conference calls, with kids playing and dogs barking and spouses interrupting.
Listen to the virtual happy hours turn into group therapy sessions. Sing along to living room karaoke, stretch and bend to the encouragement of your online trainer, tap your fingers to famous musicians serenading you from their mansions.
Listen to the crying — because we need to hear that too.
Our inside voices need to be heard, all of them, loudly. Our inside voices command us to respect and treat everyone the same, from perfect strangers to those imperfect friends or relatives with whom we might rarely speak.
People say they can’t wait to get back to normal. Back to the “real” world.
But I don’t want to go back. If what we had before was the real world, then I don’t ever want to go back.
That world screamed too much. It was too often nasty and negligent. That world had too many outside voices giving zero fucks about anyone else.
I don’t want to go back to that world — not when we are being more real in this one.
Yes we want to be together again, physically together, and we will. We need to get back to work, be with colleagues and friends and family. We need the restaurants and businesses, both big and small, to open and succeed. We need our beaches and hiking trails, sporting events and amusement parks, concerts and movie theaters and Broadway shows.
We need all of it, every bit of it. I for one will never take a simple night out with my wife and daughter for granted ever again. I’ll cherish those moments like the priceless jewels they are.
I hope we never forget what we lost, and what we can easily lose again.
And I hope we keep using our inside voices, because not only are they saving us in this world, but they can save us in the next.