Reflections on the lockdown

The coronavirus has demonstrated to all of us that we are all one. Rich or poor; master or servant; educated or uneducated, white, black, yellow or brown, we are all one.

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, puts it well when he said in a statement, “Coronavirus is the great equalizer.”

No drug exists currently to treat the virus although scientists are busily working to come up with one. That however has not stopped some people from coming up with some bizarre and weird treatments. A leader of a religious sect in Asia said that drinking the urine of cows or eating cow dung would take care of the virus. There are many more such bizarre treatments floating around the world.

Whilst scientists are researching a cure, the world has gradually come to accept that there is one effective way of containing the spread of the pandemic and that is to lockdown, you know, close the border, shut down schools, shut down churches, shut down businesses and all public places, ban all social events and get everyone to stay home.

In Ghana, we followed the example and best practices of other affected nations and we have locked down parts of the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.

Under normal circumstances, lockdown is not the best thing to do. It is costly to the nation and to the citizens. For this pandemic, however, lockdowns are the only way we know to keep it from infecting and killing more people. But, imagine if there is no pandemic and yet a nation chooses to lockdown. We will be sad for this nation and pity her citizens.

Now, what if I tell you that there are people among us who are on a permanent lockdown, even when there was no pandemic? You don’t believe me? Well, let me introduce you to eight people whose lives are on a permanent lockdown. Here we go:

  1. Those who live their lives in fear, have put their lives on a permanent lockdown. Sir Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” There are people who unfortunately live their lives in fear. These people never are never spontaneous and are always holding themselves back. And they live timidly and far below their potential.

In the current COVID-19 lockdown, we are trying to avoid catching a deadly virus. When someone lives his life in fear, he is hiding from life itself and that is a lockdown.

  • Those who have experienced a failed relationship and because of that have refused to give themselves the chance of falling in love again. In almost everyone’s life, there is a painful experience with love. Maybe there was someone you felt was your soulmate and you gave this person all the love you have and then he/she rejected your love and moved on. Well, most of us have been there. But whereas some people are able to put that behind them and move on, others never move on. They instead keep themselves from finding love again and they build walls around their hearts.

Now, let me show you how tragic that is. It is like this pandemic dying off and a whole city refusing to open up and insisting that people should stay home. That is the life of the person who because of a bad experience in a love relationship has resolved never to love again. His/her life is on total and complete lockdown.

  • Those who have always had a dream but have never taken steps to make it happen. In January this year, I gave admission to a young lady into Roverman Theatre group and put her in the cast of our quarter 1 play, Final Warning.

Two weeks into the rehearsals when she saw how much fun she was having and how much she was learning, she said, “For three years, I have always wanted to be a part of this but I always held back.”

Now, imagine she had never made the effort to become a part of what she had always wanted? I regard her as one of the lucky ones because no matter how long it took her, at least today, she is living her dream. But there are people who never give themselves the chance of making their dreams come true. They are on lockdown in their lives.

  • Those who hold grudges and refuse to forgive. If you can remember, for instance, someone who hurt you when you were in primary class 3 and you still have not forgiven that person, then you have been on lockdown since class 3. The problem with holding grudges and not forgiving is that you put your life on hold for as long as you refuse to let go of the grudge and forgive. Remember that forgiveness has nothing to do with the one who has offended you.
  • Those who find fault with everybody. Have you realized that you tend to avoid people who are always finding fault with you? Now, just as you avoid them, everyone they find fault with also avoids them and in the end, they find themselves isolated and abandoned. Their critical and negative attitude to others deprives them of friendship and love. Those who find fault with everyone tend to be isolated and that is their lockdown.
  • Those who are selfish, self-seeking and self-absorbed. If you make everything about you and you think only of yourself and of your interests and if you want to be served but you never serve, then you are on lockdown. Life at its best is a give and take preposition. The water body that has no outlet but only receives becomes undrinkable.

The billionaires who are giving their fortunes away all say those moments of giving brought them more joy than anything else they had done in their lives. The point is if you live a selfish, self-seeking and self-absorbed life, you do not experience what it means to be fully alive. And so you are on lockdown.

  • Those who give up easily. Those who try something once or twice and give up never get to live fully. I have lawyer friends who wrote the law school entry exams five times but never gave up. And they have friends who wrote the exams once or twice and gave up.

Two years ago, at the Roverman auditions, a young lady came in and said, “Uncle Ebo, this is my third attempt to gain admission. If you don’t admit me, you will see me again next year. I will continue coming till I get in.”

I was impressed with her never-say-die attitude and gain her admission. Meanwhile there are others who have tried only once and have sworn never to try again.

Life will test how badly you want something. And those who give up easily never get to experience life full and so they are on lockdown.

  • Those who procrastinate. Those who procrastinate are on lockdown because they keep postponing living. Life waits for no one and when you procrastinate, life simply pass you by. And that is a lock down.

So, you have met the eight kinds of people whose lives are always on lockdown. I hope you are not one of them. Stay safe and stay home.