Are You continuing or Complaining

It’s been a rough almost two years. And I’d promised myself I wouldn’t write something like this when I started writing again.

But I can’t help it. I have to say this.

From early 2020 til now we’ve seen the world, and our country, thrown into chaos the likes of which we’ve never known. Oh, we heard the stories from those who lived through food rationing, the depression, and world wars, but we never ever thought we’d see anything similar.

We were insulated from such things. We were used to having things just as we wanted, when we wanted. Store shelves were overflowing, grocery stores were fully stocked, employees and employees were enjoying prosperity. Kids complained about going to school as kids will do, but they went and they were taught by a lot of great teachers surrounded by their friends.

We weren’t hesitant to go out to eat,  go shopping, to the movies, go to baseball or football games, or fly across the country or even overseas. 

Life was good. Life wasn’t perfect, but we weren’t wondering if tomorrow would bring disaster to our way of life. We went along with our lives, as if nothing bad could ever touch us.

Then suddenly, everything changed.

A new virus we couldn’t see started making its way to other countries. It sickened those who caught it, sometimes for weeks, and began killing many others who caught it. Some people that caught it still experience lasting side effects from it. A pandemic hit us, and we weren’t prepared.

We were told it wouldn’t come here, not to worry, it was a hoax. It’ll just go away and life will be as it always was. Well, that hoax has killed how many of us in this country? Over 820.000 I believe was the last count I heard, but it changes hourly.

That’s 820,000+ families who were forever changed and yes, devastated by loss, by this microscopic potential killer. No, it doesn’t kill everyone who gets it, but a large percentage of our population is at risk for potentially disastrous results if they contract it. My husband being one of them because of his breathing problems and cardiac history. Even for those without underlying medical conditions, life can suddenly change for the worse, and have repercussions for the rest of their lives.

As the pandemic raged across our country and the world, hard decisions were made. Certain businesses were mandated to close because of possible contagion. People were suddenly without incomes, many had little or no savings. Newly unemployed people struggled to maintain their lives, feed their families, and pay their bills. It was a bad time for so many. Many of us were fortunate enough to transition to working remotely rather going to our offices. I did, and I’m still doing it. I actually enjoy it now, and I get more accomplished.

But many just complained that they couldn’t go to the gym, get their hair cut and styled. They couldn’t go to a movie. There were no baseball or football games to go to in person. Couldn’t go out to eat because so many restaurants had to close and only do carry out. It wasn’t fair! It was an inconvenience! Just for a little virus you couldn’t see that might make you sick! How dare the government tell us what to do!?

They never stopped to think about those thousands of people out of work because of it who were struggling. Or families who were losing loved ones because of it.

They never stopped to think about the healthcare workers who were suddenly trying to cope with an illness the likes of which they’d never seen, working extra long hours with little or no sleep and trying to save lives of people they didn’t even know. And putting themselves at risk as well. “Oh well,” people said, “it’s their job. They signed up for it, so they just need to do it; they’re getting paid!”

They never stopped to think about the people who got the virus and suffered and died because of it. “So what?” they said. “People die every day. Why do we all have to be inconvenienced?”

Grocery stores ran out of cleaning supplies and paper goods. Many people hoarded what supplies they could get. They fought over paper towels and toilet paper. “It isn’t fair! This is America, and we’re not supposed to have bad things happen. We’re supposed to be able to get everything we want when we want it!”

And unless the virus touched their lives personally, unless someone they loved contracted it and died, they complained about having to take precautions, with many refusing to comply. Many refusing an approved vaccine because “the government is trying to force me and it’s just another way to try and control me! I have my rights! I have freedom to do what I want! It’s my body!”

Yes, it’s your body. Do what you want. But don’t infringe on my choice of staying safe. You can be walking around carrying the virus, and give it to me, even though I’ve been vaccinated. And that can be spread to others whose immune systems can’t handle it.

It began to, and in many ways still does, divide this country and families in ways we never expected. 

My husband and I, and many of our friends, are fully vaccinated and boosted. Why? Because we don’t want to take the risk. We don’t want to potentially get this thing and spread it to someone who could die from it. I don’t want to risk my husband getting it. And I don’t look at it as if, “oh well, he’s going to die from something.” I want us to prevent that as long as possible. And if I hear one more person say something like that, I think I will scream in their face.

This pandemic has sadly become a political issue more than a health issue. And I’m tired of it being that way. Not everything in this country is a political statement. And just because you personally haven’t been affected yet doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Because we personally know far too many people who it has affected, several of whom who have died. Far more frightening are the number of people who are getting this and have already been vaccinated.  Yes, they are experiencing milder cases of it than those who haven’t been vaccinated, but they are still becoming infected, and still needing medical care for their illness. And it concerns me daily that even with my fully vaccinated husband being careful and wearing his mask almost everywhere he goes, that he could still contract it.

Somewhere along the way we’ve lost part of our humanity; our concern for others. That thing about “love your neighbor as yourself?” To paraphrase a popular saying, it’s just a “thing” now. It really doesn’t mean much to many people who’d rather criticize and complain because their lives and the world have changed, and it’s inconvenient for some of us.

I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but if this makes you uncomfortable, maybe there’s a reason for it. 

You have your own ideas and beliefs, but when your beliefs and ideas put me and my family at risk, I do have a problem with that. And I can choose how to handle it. And I choose not to go around those of you who are not vaccinated.  I also choose to ask if you or others who are possibly going to be around us at a function have been vaccinated, and we will determine at that time if we want to take the risk or not. It’s not personally against you; It’s personal  because we choose to play it safe.

May all of us one day soon be able to return to life sort of as we knew it before Covid. May we stop being divided and come back together as families and friends, and not enemies because we see things differently. May we learn to care about others’ feelings and beliefs rather than condemn and denigrate those who don’t agree with us.

By this time many of you who are/were our friends will have decided to un-friend us, and that’s ok, too. If you cannot handle our feelings, and cannot accept our feelings, then it’s ok. You’re entitled. So are we.

However, we are continuing to try and stay safe. We continue to use our masks in public places. And will become more diligent with those with who we are still friends with. And we are choosing to stay safe rather than risk our lies and others’ lives as well.

Stay well, and stay safe.