I know we have all experienced this pandemic differently.
Some have lost everything. Some have lost nothing. Some people, like myself, have had their lives completely stop. Others haven’t skipped a beat.
Some have been afraid constantly, while others cling to the notion that this virus can’t touch them and they continue to go about their lives as though all these restrictions do not apply to them.
Big-box stores have picked up sales and gotten richer while small businesses are being forced to close. Fast-food chains have long lines in drive-thrus while sit-down restaurants are hanging on by a thread.
One thing I think most of us have felt, at some point in the past 10 months, is the absence of hope. I have felt it so deeply it has practically paralyzed me.
It hasn’t just been COVID-19. It’s the division, the suffering, the loss, the civil unrest, the hatred, the racism, the absolute inequality that exists in this country and has been brought front and center, impossible to ignore.
None of that is gone. It didn’t magically disappear with the inauguration of a new president. There is still so much work to do.
However, something pretty magical happened Wednesday.
I got reacquainted with my old friend, hope. It’s been so long that I forgot what it feels like.
Tears of joy and relief flooded from my eyes all day long. I watched a Black, South Asian woman get inaugurated as vice president. I watched a young Black woman read her powerful inaugural poem.
I watched a man who was my last choice for the nomination, but who later stole my heart with his compassionate response to what has been happening in our country, get sworn in as president.
I looked at the very diverse new administration — Black, white, Latino, gay, straight, transgender, etc. It looked like America.
And for the first time in as long as I can remember, I felt real hope.
I know not everyone shares my views and that’s OK. Maybe there will come a time when we can sit down and chat and teach each other things. It doesn’t have to be left versus right. It could just be two humans opening their hearts and minds.
Outside of politics and how that is affecting this whole new era of hope, I was blessed enough to receive my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 14 through the hospice where I volunteer. In less than two weeks, I’ll get my second dose.
For me, this means when I eventually get called back to work at the Roadhouse, I can return without an ounce of fear. It means I am a little closer to being able to hug my family again. It means maybe I’ll be able to visit hospice patients in nursing homes again.
It means, for me, hope is back on the table.