As We Start to Re-Open Our Lives, What Have We Learned?
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It’s morning again! As the darkness lifts to reveal the damage of the long stormy night, the sun starts to peak over the horizon. A low fog still hangs over the mountains, but we can see a prism of sunshine filtering through the mist. The birds are chirping in the distance and a ground squirrel scurries across the grass before disappearing into its hole.
It’s as if we’re awakening from a dream, but then realization strikes home. As we step back out into “life” for the first time in two months, it seems like a blur but at the same time an eternity. All we’ve heard in the 24-hour news cycle is numbers of new cases, number of hospitalized and death counts. We’ve heard endless debate about masks, therapeutic drugs, prediction models and government response.
Then finally, we’re told we can begin to cautiously restart our lives. The virus is not gone. Many are still getting sick and sadly more still dying. But the debate becomes more about what is better, staying home or moving on and mitigating risk.
Virtually no one can remember the last time a true pandemic struck. But COVID-19 is something none of us will ever forget. We have witnessed true heroes working around the clock to provide health care and life-saving efforts to those afflicted by this horrible virus.
While many were working from home, others were working the drive-thru at a local restaurant or stocking our grocery shelves. Some were keeping the pharmacies open, checking you out at the grocery store or driving trucks to get supplies from the warehouse to the point of purchase or to a place in need.
Our farmers continued working to produce the goods we need to sustain us. Despite supply chain problems, low commodity prices and risks to their own health, they were making sure that we will still have food to eat.
So, what now? Life has slowly started to turn its wheels again. What do we do? What have we learned? How will we continue to battle this enemy, rebuild our economy, and make efforts to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
The answers are not all clear at this point. Continuing to guard our health and the health of others is still of paramount importance to ensure the battle is finally won. While we reengage our lives, following the preventative guidelines that have been outlined to us all is key in bringing this nightmare to an end.
What will normal be? For a time yet, it may not be the same as we once thought it was. Some things may never go back to the way they were. How will we educate our children – in the classroom or on a computer screen?
While many of us have missed watching football, baseball, racing, live concerts and going to the theatre, what does the future hold for those industries? Will they ever be the same? Will they even survive?
Have we re-evaluated what is really important? Are paying big prices to watch multi-millionaire athletes and movie stars better than enjoying a backyard cookout with the family and maybe playing a game of horseshoes? Maybe that’s a question this episode has prompted. Or, maybe those ballgames and movies are truly a need in our lives?
Maybe we’ve learned the importance of family and friends? Maybe we’ve learned to be more cognizant of good hygiene? Maybe we’ve learned to appreciate those people who continue to work to provide necessary services? Maybe we’ve learned that we can be a little more self-sufficient? Maybe we’ve learned that there are some things that just aren’t worth the price of admission, whether that cost is monetary or intangible?
Or maybe, maybe, there will be a successful vaccine or the virus will just go away and, as is normally the case, in a short time we will forget all the horrors of the past few months and we will actually return to what we always thought was normal – whether for the good or the bad?
That shouldn’t be the end result of losing 100,000 lives! That shouldn’t be the end result of all the risk taken by a nurse, a cashier, a truck driver, a pharmacy clerk and a farmer among many others! Hopefully, that high price has come with some lessons that we will use to make our lives better, safer and more healthy.