Thursday, January 14, 2021

Covid Kindness

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." -Stephen Grellet
Every sunrise gives me a new day to start fresh in my pursuit of being kind. 

This week, my husband got the Covid vaccine. As the finance director at a medical research organization, he qualifies as an essential worker - he signs the paychecks, after all - which explains why he was moved quickly to the front of the line. 

His company, Institute for Systems Biology, works at the forefront of Covid research. Collaborating with other medical partners, ISB's project focuses on why those infected with Covid can suffer very different outcomes. Which I think is very cool.

Anyway, the hot topic of conversation around our dinner table lately has been this: How exactly does the vaccine work? Essentially, I've gathered, it revs up your immune system like a super-charged Lamborghini so that if the virus wanders in, your body's defenses will accelerate into high gear and stamp out the evil little Covids before they make you sick.

But here's the rub. From what the experts can tell, it's still possible that a vaccinated person could carry the virus. And could still make other people sick.


There's still quite a bit of spit-balling going on in the hallowed halls of vaccination science and no one knows for sure how effective this is going to be. 

And so my husband has been told that even when he receives his second vaccination, 28 days after the first, he should still wear a mask.

Not to protect his own health; he should be fine. 
But to protect others.

To be kind.
And every sunset gives me a chance to reflect on how I can do better tomorrow. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about kindness.

These days, more than ever, it's so easy to be unkind.

We're all feeling stressed and frazzled, tired of the crazy, ready to resume what we used to call normal life but now just means going out without worrying who's breathing on us. 

Honestly, I find myself getting jumpy and irritated by anything resembling a close encounter with a human outside my family bubble. 

I don't invite children to pet my dog, 
I don't smile at people in the grocery store, 
I didn't even take my usual Christmas gifts to the neighbors. 

I don't like how unkind I have become.
But despite these imperfections, every sunset is glorious in its own way. And that gives me comfort. 

Then again, I remind myself, there are other ways to be kind. Ways that don't involve the risks of bioaerosols. 

And I've realized that what matters most to me is the kindness of connection.

In this lonely and isolating world, in which loss and pain and tragedy invade our lives at least as much as ever before, we need each other. 

We need to be present to each other. 

We need to be present for each other. 

And we need to stay connected to one another in the daily flow of life, not only when the chips are down or the enemy is at the gate, but in a constant, quiet, sustaining way that reminds us of the commitment between human beings that holds our lives together.

We need to be kind.

And every day, I am striving to be better at that. 

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