Sometimes, on mornings like this when darkness still wraps the world outside my window in its embrace and ice glistens on the river’s surface, and the world continues to hold its breath beneath Covid’s thrall, I wonder… when will it end?
When will booking a flight to somewhere far away in the world, or just to Vancouver to visit my grandchildren, not come burdened with vaccination passports and endless thoughts of should I or shouldn’t I as I weigh the risks and calculate the cost of travelling on my life and the lives of my beloveds?
When will the simple act of going to the grocery store not include wearing a mask, sanitizing my hands at every turn and worrisome thoughts of… What if I get it?
When will it be okay to hug again, or hold hands or sit side-by-side on a park bench or in a restaurant without measuring the distance between us to ensure we’re safe?
And then, I think about the boys and men who went off to war decades ago unsure of when or if they’d make it home and the mothers and children and grandparents and those who had to stay behind. Did they wonder every day, “When will it end?” Did they have doubts and fears that would not lay quiet in the night? Did they worry would they be safe going out the door if they were not close to a bomb shelter? What about their children at school and so far from their loving arms when air raid sirens blasted? Did they worry every day about their loved ones somewhere far away fighting a war so they could be free? Did they wonder when Year 3 started, “Will this be the last year of this war gripping the world in its terror? When will it end?”
And then, I think about the wars that are still being fought today and the millions and millions of refugees uprooted by guns and natural disasters who sit in crowded tents and live in crowded quarters where Covid is not the only risk they face every moment of every day. And how they must worry every single moment about food to eat, a safe place to sleep and wonder, “When will it ever end?” as they go about their days yearning for peace and safety, worrying and wondering about when they will ever have a home to call their own again. Worrying and wondering which country in this world will accept them so that they can build better lives for their children. When will it end?
And then, I think about this freedom I have where I can choose to wear what I want, speak how I want, disagree with government and not be jailed, or killed for my impertinence. This freedom I possess to be myself, to worship or pray or send blessings into the sky or sit at a pew of my choice, to walk the streets without needing a man to accompany me or having to walk a step behind, to drive a car even though I’m a woman, to enter establishments of education, justice, government or places of worship without being barred because of my gender, this freedom… not even Covid can deny me that.
Billions of people around the world do not share in the freedoms I possess.
If killing Covid means I must get a jab or two, and wear a mask and take into account how close I stand to a stranger, then I will do it. It’s good for me and good for you and good for those billions of people around the world who do not share in the freedoms I possess. At least if I take care of my world here now, we all might have a chance to live without Covid in our midst tomorrow and one day, one year, one millennium in the future, we might all walk in freedom, peace and love.