This past Friday (the 13th!) marked exactly eight months since I last left my office on a cold Friday afternoon. Going home that evening I naively thought, I’d be back in the office in a week or two tops. Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t agree with me. And unfortunately those predictions that any mention of the pandemic would miraculously disappear the day after the election, haven’t come true (I didn’t think they would). The headlines are still filled with stories of the rising number of cases (11 million), hospitalizations and deaths (245,000) in the United States.
The numbers in Ohio are on the rise as are the numbers in my county and city. The governor is threatening to shut down bars, restaurants and gyms again, if the numbers don’t start trending down again. Local business owners have implored patrons to comply with masks orders to prevent this. However, at this point in time, I’m fearful it may be too late to make a difference in the trending upward numbers in the next week. I still have yet to grasp the argument of how protecting our neighbors and community members by wearing masks, social distancing and limiting indoor gatherings is an affront to personal freedoms. I understand people not wanting the government to dictate wearing masks, however; leaving it up to individuals obviously isn’t working. Relying on people to do the right things has failed.
Many comments I see in social media suggest we are all tired of hearing about COVID-19 and want to go back to the days when we didn’t have to think about a global pandemic. I know I am. It is a lot less scary to write off the rising numbers as fear mongering and inflated. Those who have lost their lives may have had other conditions contributing to their deaths. While true, COVID-19 shorted their lives. Who wouldn’t give anything to spend even one more minute with a loved one? I know I would.
This past week we made the hard decision to not have our traditional family Thanksgiving. With the numbers on the rise and our children returning from college and attending in person school, we decided it was too risky. We are hopeful to have an in-person family Christmas celebration instead as there will be a 10-14 day window we can quarantine to lessen the risks. We know that life is unpredictable and we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we also need to mitigate risks. We have faith and hope that missing one family celebration will afford us many more celebrations in the coming years.
Hope of a vaccine is now on the horizon. How soon it will be available for its widespread distribution is still unknown. My youngest daughter asked me if I was going to make her get it when it became available. I told her that of course, we would all get the vaccine. She became apprehensive and asked me if I knew there was going to be a tracking device in the vaccine. I asked where she heard this and she replied school and Tik Tok. This disturbed me and I reassured her this was a conspiracy theory and not true. What need would the government need to inject tracking devices into our bodies (talk about fear mongering!)? I pointed out that millions and millions of Americans already had tracking devices that they willingly carry with them everywhere – smart phones. I told her I wasn’t worried.
It is easy to let yourself be dragged down into despair. However, I feel buoyed by hope and optimism. Focusing on doing the next right thing, gives me a path to light when the world feels dark. This past Friday, was also World Kindness Day. Just completing a small act of kindness, warms me. A kind word, paying it forward, lending a helping hand, wearing a mask all move the world toward being a better place.
What are some random acts of kindness you’ve received or given? What gives you hope?