It’s amazing how time moves sometimes.
It was about a year ago while I was still working for the Agassiz-Harrison Observer when I wrote my first localized piece about this novel coronavirus and how it wasn’t yet a major concern for Agassiz-Harrison.
For not the first time in my career, history has proven me wrong as Hope, B.C. and beyond get their first hint of a post-COVID world. As the vaccine rollout begins, it’s a good time to reflect and take stock of what we’ve learned as a pandemic shook the world as we once knew it.
The pandemic has shown multiple sides of humanity. I’ll always treasure those stories of kindness, like the “sugar fairy” who left baking ingredients on an elderly woman’s doorstep so she can make cookies for the holidays. The woman suffered from lung conditions, which makes her especially vulnerable right now, and I don’t think she ever figured out who it was. An entire seniors community held a COVID-safe birthday party for a 90-year-old woman, complete with a local Elvis impersonator and birthday cards from 150 of her closest friends.
There are plenty of stories of selfishness and misinformation. While anger is a justified emotion in those cases, it’s more important to take lessons away from it. For example, it’s important to remember that while wearing a mask is uncomfortable, it’s a fact of life that an overwhelming majority of medical advisors say if you can wear it, you should to protect those around you. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know; however, it’s good to remind ourselves now and then that fighting this pandemic that affects us all is about more than our individual wants and comforts. It’s overstated, but true – It’s not about me, it’s not about you; we’re all in this together.
Through the pandemic, we’ve learned to appreciate experiences and people we have otherwise taken for granted. We’ve seen everyday, hard-working people at grocery stores, at the Canada Post, truck drivers and our health care workers thrust into the spotlight as unsung heroes in a time of worldwide need. With some exceptions, the world appreciated them for their work in keeping the world running, and I can only hope that gratitude will continue going forward.
We’ve learned to adapt, to cope with what we’re forced to do without. We’ve held staff and council meetings via Zoom, dressed in our finest business casual – at least from the waist up, anyway. We’ve sent cards, emails, letters and taken full advantage of the legion of communication tools we have before us, all the while holding onto the stark realization that it’s not quite the same.
Some of us have found a new love for the outdoors, and why shouldn’t we? Having lived in several places in North America, B.C. and the Fraser Valley in particular is among the most beautiful country I’ve ever called home. As nice as it would be to get together with friends over a nice dinner, there’s something to be said for getting out into nature and simply existing.
Right now, we’re gaining ground on the advent of a healing world. We’re still going to face challenges in the months ahead. We still need to be vigilant in staying home if we’re sick, wearing masks when appropriate, washing our hands – the usual, inconvenient but necessary steps. It’s important we refrain from gathering in person for just a little while longer. We need to hold the line, and bend it back downward.
We’ve come a long way since last January. Let’s finish this fight strong and bring healing to our world.