COLUMN: We can all do more – until we can’t. Thank you for doing what you can.

COLUMN: We can all do more – until we can’t. Thank you for doing what you can.

Stressed? Anxious? Laid off? Working? Unhappy? Bored? Thanks for carrying on.

Thank you.

Thank you, obviously, to doctors and nurses and teachers and epidemiologists and farmers and truckers and grocery store workers and pharmacists and everyone else with the most essential of essential jobs right now.

But also, whoever you are, thank you. Not just for doing those irritating social-distancing things we’re all doing. Thank you for getting through this. Thank you for caring. Thank you for understanding. And thank you for forgiving.

This hasn’t been easy, obviously. For many, this has been a time of serious personal and familial tragedy. We can forget that, sometimes, because of the scale of what’s being done to try to minimize further tragedies. And because, for nearly everybody, this is hard in all the ways that you don’t need spelled out once again.

Mentally, physically, spiritually – in both the religious and non-religious sense – this has been draining.

Personally, my energy, optimism and happiness drained away over the last month and a half. You don’t need to hear the details, because they’re neither unique nor comparable to what many are going through. But living through history and a huge news story isn’t particularly fun, it turns out. It’s exhausting and full of anxiety.

There are so many reasons to be stressed out, worried and upset.

There is a line from a Nirvana song that resonates: “Just because you’re paranoid/Don’t mean they’re not after you.” Similarly, just because you’re stressed doesn’t mean that your anxiety and your worries are illogical or unnecessary.

Indeed, worrying – making worst-case contingency plans and seeing how much water has disappeared from that half-empty glass – can be helpful.

But. But sometimes it helps to just say thank you and to choose to believe that we’re doing the best we can.

People are imperfect. Our institutions, our corporations, and our societal structures are even more flawed. This moment exposes, like never before, those imperfections. And there is so much to worry about and struggle through that it can be hard to see everything that is working, everybody who is trying to do their part, everybody who is keeping it together, and everybody who is falling apart but still persevering.

We are saying thank you more than we usually do. We probably still aren’t saying it enough.

So: Thank you.

Thank you to those who gave their time to a reporter before all this and who may be inclined to think it was a waste. Thank you for understanding.

Thank you to employers who are doing their best to keep paying their workers and keep serving the public responsibly.

Thank you to unions, employee groups and workers themselves who stand up to protect those worried about paying their families’ bills.

Thank you to everyone who has put the community’s interest before their own. Thank you to workers who have told their bosses that they’d rather be laid off than risk spreading COVID-19. Thank you to entrepreneurs who have shuttered their cherished businesses, often earlier than necessary, with the same thoughts in mind.

Thank you to the people at the store who do that half-smile, eyebrows-raised thing during one of those COVID standoffs where both parties don’t want to invade the other’s space.

Thank you to everyone putting up with their stressed-out spouses.

Thank you for public servants re-arranging how our societies are ordered in just weeks or days.

Thank you to the parents finding ways to amuse balls of energy without the use of playgrounds.

Thanks, by the way, to all those people who design, install and pay for playgrounds. You may not be technically “essential” now. But trust a parent that your work is appreciated like never before.

And, while we’re here, thanks for all those who can’t work right now. The reason we miss you – and one of the big reasons this is all so hard – is because of how important you are. You help keep us sane.

You – lifeguards and soccer referees and bartenders and servers and hotel cleaners and park wardens and mall janitors and daycare workers and event organizers and florists – will bring us back together. You’re not working now, but thank you for biding your time. We’ll need you later.

We can all, always, do better. We can be more compassionate. More diligent. More self-aware. More isolated. Until we can’t.

Thank you for doing what you can.

Tyler Olsen is a reporter at The Abbotsford News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue brought a man to safety, and awaiting paramedics, after a 20-foot fall down an embankment on Jan. 23, 2020, on Harrison West Forest Service Road. (Kent Harrison Search and Rescue photo)
Rescue crew lifts man up 20-foot embankment near Harrison Lake

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue says this is the fifth call already this year

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read