As truth seems to become subjective, compassion may be our only option.
In early March 2020, we placed a strategic and extensive order with Costco.
Not knowing what to expect from COVID-19, the reclassified global pandemic, we bought a 25-pound bag of rice, boxes of canned beans and sanitizer wipes, beef jerky, and the best snacks. The toilet paper shortage had not yet shown up or that would have happened.
We worried that it could be very different for weeks.
It’s March 2022, and although our captain – the President’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci – recently hinted that things are calming down, we’re not over the hill yet.
The incredible tax on our healthcare systemour teacher and student, long-distance driver and the growing grief of millions who have lost loved ones paints a more detailed and much less rosy picture of our reality.
I do not recommend pandemics. zero stars.
For as far as we humans have become, we still have a limited ability to control biology, making any cunning virus a threat to our prosperity. We share our planet with scores of other beings, all hoping to thrive and reproduce – some at our expense. It’s part of the human condition here on Mama Earth.
I understand that. And yet I keep thinking about how we could have helped this particular virus to spread. I find it challenging not to get really upset about it.
Part of me wants to yell at the people who have twisted the truth to make it seem like caution is an encroachment on our freedoms. Like, really loud maybe with some spit flying for emphasis (just into my mask though).
However, I can see the connection between my anger and the reason why we are not always particularly friendly to one another.
“PLEASE BE SAFER (YOU JERKS)” hasn’t been a hugely successful request so far. When I wrote about them Utah lawmakers are lifting several counties’ mask mandatesSome readers suggested I move out of Utah and get closer to the heart of my safety cult, others suggested I never leave home since my immunocompromised status wasn’t their problem, and someone suggested I wear a muzzle instead of one Wear mask (as long as it’s five layers I guess).
I found that to be a hard pass.
I had genuine concerns about our collective health and want everyone to share the burden, but I’m not sure I offered the same understanding in return. I found the comparison between security protocols and violations of constitutional liberties so unfounded that I didn’t give much thought to what such a serious threat might feel like.
I don’t know if I would agree if I listened and tried to understand, but I suspect I would show empathy and suppress anger. I’d welcome either, because I bet our discord weakens our defenses.
As truth seems to become subjective, compassion may be our best (only?) option. I don’t really know what that looks like or how to achieve it, but we’re a pretty resilient species so far, so there’s hope that we’ll find out.
Because just like our rice sack, we are not through this fight yet.
Marina Gomberg is a professional communicator, practicing optimist and lover of love. She lives in Salt Lake City with her wife Elenor Gomberg and their son Harvey. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2022/03/11/marina-gomberg/ Reflections on the two-year mark of the pandemic