SLOAN COLUMN: A much-needed lesson in appreciation
“I can’t wait until this thing is over and we can get back to normal.”
How many times have you overheard someone say this during the past few weeks? How many times have you found yourself saying those same words, either to someone or mumbling them to yourself?
We all have felt this way in certain moments. All of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have altered our everyday routines in a dramatic way. Our lives are literally no longer the same. We have been given no choice but to rethink, adjust, and adapt to how we approach what we not too long ago considered ordinary and commonplace – a trip to the grocery store, sending the kids off to school, going to the hospital’s emergency room for a minor illness or injury, attending a place of worship, or even a something as simple as an outing to the neighborhood park. This, as we are all well aware, is the short list – the very short list.
Things are most certainly no longer normal.
There will come a time, sooner rather than later I pray, when our lives do bear a resemblance to what they once were. We will be able to look back on the COVID-19 pandemic and breath a collective sigh of relief. Things will not, however, return to normal – at least not the same way we once viewed normal. We will, I hope, have a decidedly different perspective on many of the things we once took for granted.
Among the people and things I hope we learn to appreciate more are:
• Medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital personal put themselves at risk every single day so that we can get the care we need. Most are working extra long hours. There is a shortage of supplies and a surplus of stressed out patients and families. And yet, they somehow manage to find the patience to deal with anxious people in a caring and understanding way. To be honest, it’s nothing short of remarkable.
• Teachers. Let’s just say home-schooling the grandkids has been a learning experience for this Papi . I quickly learned that fourth-graders are learning far more now than I did when I was a wet-behind-the-ears 10-year-old. I managed, but I can’t fathom doing this on a daily basis with a collection of 20 or so young minds.
• Truck drivers. These men and women are without question unsung heroes. They are the lifelines that connect us to our “must haves” and “can’t do with-outs. ” Without truck drivers we are left with empty shelves and empty cupboards.
Restaurants have closed dining areas and offer only carry out or curbside service. Big rigs hauling supplies can’t do drive-thrus so drivers have no choice but to rely on convenience store food. No hot meals for them.
Our truck drivers are legitimate rock stars.
• Postal workers. Did you get your mail today? Enough said.
• Technology. I will be the first to tell you that I grumble and bemoan technology as much as anyone, all while I surfing the net on the latest iPhone. Consider what we would do or where we would be without it. No working from home. We certainly would not be able to keep updated on information and changes taking place.
Technology has kept us connected.
• Worship. COVID-19 has caused us to rethink worship. It has drawn us outside the comfortable confines of our sanctuaries and I think that is a good thing.
As difficult as it has been, imagine that first Sunday when we finally return to our sanctuaries and can pass the peace with handshakes and hugs without concern for being infected or infecting someone else? What a grand and glorious moment that will be.
There are so many people and things we need to appreciate more. Heck, the bottom line is we should all appreciate each other more.
Let’s not wait until we get the “all clear” to start the appreciating. Let’s start right now.
Please know, dear reader, that I very much appreciate you.