In Every Dark Cloud, There is a Silver Lining

By April 2, 2020May 12th, 2020Commentaries/Opinions, COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

By Sen. Hank Sanders

In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. I heard this statement many times from my mother and the old folks as I grew up. It took me years before I fully understood. When I did, I felt the power in this nine-word, two-phrase sentence. We are under a terrible dark cloud now. Therefore, we need to know that there is a silver lining. In every dark cloud, there is a silver shining.

The sun reflects off the dark cloud. To those who can see the top or back of the cloud, the reflection is so bright that the cloud appears to be lined with silver. The sun is always shining. It shines in the day. It shines in the night. It shines when the day is clear. It shines when the clouds are dark. We can’t see the sun at night because it’s on the other side of the earth, but it is still shining. We can’t see the sun when the dark clouds hang low, but the sun is still shining behind the dark clouds, creating a silver lining. In every dark cloud there is a silver lining. 

The coronavirus pandemic is indeed a dark cloud. It is hovering over this country. It is hovering over the entire world. It darkens everything in our lives: our families; our relationships; our livelihoods; our travels; our health; our births; our deaths; our loves; our hates; our everything. It is a broad, deep and menacing dark cloud. But in every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, facing a health crisis where hospitals and other medical facilities will be overwhelmed, asked retired medical personnel to volunteer. These were people who had worked long years serving their professions and communities. These were people retired on their hard-earned benefits. These were people safe in their homes from this mushrooming danger. But some fifty-six thousand immediately volunteered for the front lines of the coronavirus war even though safety equipment is scarce and sometime nonexistent. They volunteered in spite of the danger that lurks at every turn. They are now putting themselves in danger to save others from danger. And this was just one state of the 50 states in the United States. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.

In the United Kingdom, a similar call went out from Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking medical and other retired personnel to volunteer. In just a few days more than 504,000 volunteered to leave the safety of their homes to help man/woman the front lines of the coronavirus war. The dangers of illness were everywhere. Death also lurked. Yet, they volunteered to put themselves in danger to help protect others from the dangers of illness and death. In every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

The earth has been rushing head long toward a climate catastrophe. Some say we have fewer than 11 years to take decisive action before it is too late to reverse course. It is so hard to take such action without the leadership of the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world. And that leadership is nowhere to be found at this critical junction. Then along came the coronavirus pandemic, stopping most cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and other vehicles. Factories filling the air with earth warning emissions came to a halt. So many other activities that adversely impact the environment have come to a temporary cease. The earth now has a much-needed moment to stop and breathe and recover just a little bit. We cannot foresee how this breathing moment will multiply in the race to save this earth. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.

 The United States Senate and House of Representatives have been terribly divided for years. We have the most divisive president that every lived. A warm cup of milk would have a very hard time passing through both houses of Congress and make its way to the White House. The divides are very much along partisan lines. Yet, in this terrible pandemic moment, the United States Congress, working with a notoriously divisive president, have passed two massive pieces of legislation to help stem the tides of health, economic and other devastations. And the United States Senate passed it unanimously. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. 

When leadership at the national level failed to move effectively, other leaders stepped up. The United States is the only country in the world where the national leadership did not take charge of the efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. However, there were governors such as Andrew Cuomo. There were mayors such as Francis Suarez of Miami. There is no telling how many leaders on local levels stepped up and stepped out. We have seen this happen in Alabama with several local mayors as well as the Lieutenant Governor. In every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

There are not enough masks for the medical personnel on the front lines. However, some people are sewing masks at home to fill the void. Medical personnel are finding ways to use a ventilator for two patients instead of one. Schools have closed, but teachers are getting schoolwork to the children at home. Many school systems are providing breakfasts and lunches in the community so the children can still have healthy meals. People are buying toilet tissue and shipping it across the country to friends and relatives. People far apart in miles are getting closer in spirit and forging closer connections. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.

Families are getting closer together. Even though they may be thousands of miles apart, they are connecting by phone, text, twitter, email, Facetime, Skype, etc. Even those in the same house are connecting in more caring ways. Some of my family members are spending more family time than ever. They are focused on caring for and protecting one another in even more powerful ways. In every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

Churches are putting their spiritual messages online and in other accessible mediums. And people are realizing that the church is not the building but the spirit that connects one to another. People who would never go to that particular church or any church are connecting to the broader church spirit. And churches are reaching beyond their walls in all kinds of ways. And we always pray more abundantly when times are really scary. We are not only getting close to each other; we are getting closer to God. In every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

Photo by Daniel Pascoa, Unsplash.


About IBW21

IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to building the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. to work for the social, political, economic and cultural upliftment, the development of the global Black community and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.