Letter from the Editor
This past holiday season was not what any of us would have expected it to be. We find ourselves in the midst of a second (or in some places – a third) wave of the pandemic. Additionally, Britain finds itself in the unenviable position of trying to contain an even more virulent (though thankfully, not more deadly) strain of the coronavirus, with ¾ of their country back on the most stringent lockdown. The first documented cases of this new strain have just been identified in the U.S. as well, which means it is on our shores, too.
It feels like we are living in a dystopian reality with the news overflowing with stories of hospitals at capacity treating desperately sick people in gift shops and conference rooms and hallways, and ICU capacities in Southern California at 0%. The numbers are so high they almost seem unreal, and given this environment, the politicization of a public health matter has been confusing to many and is likely be studied by social scientists for decades to come. No matter which side of the aisle you are on, you can almost certainly tell where someone is on the political spectrum by how they feel about masks and closures. But science is science, and the virus doesn’t really care if people believe in it or not, it just does what it does. We’re living in unique times, on many levels.
One thing that has become clear over these many months is that the pandemic affects everyone very deeply, and very differently. I read somewhere that we are all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. It has never felt more true than it does right now, and there is no denying that the pandemic has hit communities of color and those with less means ceaselessly and relentlessly. It is said you can tell the measure of a society by how they treat their less fortunate, and we need to do better. The pandemic has also been particularly hard on women, with studies quantifying the uneven burden placed on them in this time, and we will undoubtedly lose valuable talent from the workforce that we desperately need as a nation. Despite this challenging winter we find ourselves in, there is finally hope on the horizon with the vaccine beginning to be distributed. My social media feeds are filled with friends who are healthcare workers on the front lines getting the vaccine. I am filled with gratitude for their safety and service, and I’m beginning to feel glimmers of possibility for better days ahead.
There have also been blessings in this time as well – friendships have deepened, families have had more time to spend together, people have been able to slow life down, spend more time outdoors, learn new skills, and explore old ones. For me, simple things have become the most meaningful – I took up gardening this year, and the camellias I planted last fall are blooming early with their big, pink blooms. The herbs in my new herb garden make my life better, and I love being able to go outside my kitchen door and cut some sprigs for whatever I am cooking. (And these days, I’m always cooking it seems. I miss going to restaurants!) Working from home has meant cleaner air and less time commuting for those who are fortunate enough to be able to do it, and video technology has become mainstream as people learned how to connect and work virtually. It will most certainly change how we operate in the future.
As we weather the worst wave of the pandemic and set our sights on better days on the horizon, I am reminded of the bible verse John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” We will overcome this challenge, as we have so many before it. The light is within all of us, and we shine brighter together…even when we’re apart.
Be safe, and be well.