Now is a time for hope

For many of us, 2020 can’t end soon enough. It has been one of the most difficult, most trying periods of time in our lives. We have lost hundreds of thousands of people to Covid-19 and the pandemic has been brutal to our way of life. We’ve not been able to see loved ones for months. Many of us have been in lock-down, remaining in our homes unless we absolutely needed to depart. Some have lost jobs and had to close businesses. We haven’t been able to shake hands, pat someone on the back, or hug each other.

2020 has been a year of fear and loneliness. Fear for our loved ones, fear for ourselves, fear for front-line hospital workers, fear for essential staff, fear for our livelihoods, fear for our future… We have felt isolated, alone, anxious, and forlorn – there’s not much many of us can do but wait… and hope.

We’ve had hope. We kept hoping.

We’ve had hope. We kept hoping. We figured out how to build communities again – over computer screens, through phone calls, on text messages, in emails, and over social media. We reached out to our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, and let them know, even though we can’t see each other, we’re here. We care. We went outside in the evening and sang songs, clapped for essential workers, made noise to thank hospital staff for their incredible sacrifices. We are staying home. We are wearing masks. We are socially distancing. We are doing small things because we care about others.

We went every day to a local business and made purchases. We bought food and beverages from local restaurants even though we couldn’t sit inside. We went online and had gifts delivered to friends and family members. We converted boarded up storefronts into works of art. We created online memes of encouragement and thankfulness. We helped others who were having a tough time or needed support. We stood outside local hospitals with signs of gratitude during shift changes.

If anything, we did not collapse. We did not implode. We made the most of it. In some ways, we showed how we can persevere, how we can be better, and that when it comes down to it, we care… we care a lot.

The end of the year and the coming new one has been punctuated by the arrival of a vaccine. There is hope. Things won’t go back to normal in a day or a week or even a month, but the healing is beginning.

We will never be able to forget the thousands we’ve lost, and we shouldn’t. Thousands of businesses have closed, and we’ve lost millions of jobs. People are still struggling. It is important for us to learn from our mistakes and continue to do better. But if anything, we’ve learned we are resilient, we can face enormous challenges and come out better. We will look back and remember that we made sacrifices, we cared about others, we did amazing things in the face of enormous adversity, and we didn’t let it defeat us.

As we celebrate the new year, please continue to care – reach out to people, wear masks, keep your distance, and help however you can. It’s what matters. There’s a lot to worry about and we face even more challenges ahead, but we have proven we are strong and we are caring. It is a time of hope. Let’s share this hope and do what we can to make the world a better place.

Happy holidays and happy new year!