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Generosity in Troubled Times

We have had to adjust to many unprecedented changes these past two years. Changes to the way we see our family and friends, the way our children learn, the way our teachers teach, the way we worship or don’t worship in our sacred places, the clothes we wear and the way we relate to the world. There are too many changes to mention. Some of them have been easier than others.

Along with these adjustments we have gained and lost. We might feel closer to those we love, but more distant to those we cannot see because they are far away or vulnerable to getting ill during the pandemic. Keeping our heads above water and not feeling like we are about to drown in constant uncertainty, is not easy at any age. As we move to the end of 2021 and try to look forward positively to 2022, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You are lucky if you and your close family and friends have been able to avoid illness. The devastation of Covid and its impact on many around the world is something we cannot know fully unless we have experienced it. Some are suffering from long Covid symptoms that can only be appreciated if we take the time to think about difficulty moving, getting energy, losing basic abilities like easy breathing, taste, smell. Thousands of people have lost their lives in our country alone. These people were loved by some or many … we must avoid thinking of these lost souls as numbers, they were amazing humans. Some were well known others not, except to their families. We mourn all these losses.

It is difficult to understand those who say they care about the “sanctity of life,” but cannot accept the possibility that virologists know more than they do about viruses and have not taken precautions to save lives in this unprecedented global crisis. And so we will continue to see mutations and surges.

Some people have taken advantage during this time of fear and change and some have been grateful and appreciative. My personal experience includes both. I have learned about the best of people and the worst of people. Due to the latter lesson, I know now that generosity must be held in check from those we don’t know well enough to trust. Sadly, dishonest behavior of some has resulted in my questioning my generosity. The only solace is knowing that those who have acted dishonestly must live with the ultimate consequences of their lack of ethics, because one day it will catch up with them.

What is most disappointing in all of this is what we have learned about the strength and weaknesses in those with whom we share the planet. Unfortunately, we have learned that unlike times in history when pandemic hit, or diseases threatened us (as was the case with polio) many people are unwilling to do what is right for the weak among us.

It seems that civility and kindness are fading arts. We are learning that even in times of great danger, we cannot come together as a nation. For the first time since their passing, I am relieved my parents do not have to experience these changes. What is right and good seems to be a moving target, not the constants we used to share.

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