"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, ..." (Para. 1, Line, 1) This phrase was taken from the Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities. I read this book in high school, but the words came to me last night, when I was finishing up a session, with my last client at 8:00 pm.
Many people are struggling right now in isolation. I can feel it myself at times. It's been weeks since I've left my home, and that is the same for most of my clients. Some are finding ways to meet with friends and family, while social distancing, and that helps their mood so much. However, all my clients struggle with the huge numbers of people, who are lined up, without masks, in tight lines, at their favorite ice cream shop or hot-dog stand. People ignoring all the precautions my clients are taking, to keep safe. They want to have the great summer time foods we've all be waiting for, but their safety comes first. They are frustrated, lonely, irritable and sad. Watching other people having fun at the beaches in the sun, only makes things worse. They are choosing their life, and the lives of others, over getting back to normal too soon.
These are the worst of times, because we've never been through a pandemic, in all our lives.
We've never been asked to stay in our homes, and forgo seeing friends and family to save lives. I've lived through a lot in my seventy-five years, but never anything like this.
I remember people with Tuberculosis being locked away in sanitariums. My mom took my sister and I, to visit a lady who'd been in a sanitarium and was now at home. I remember my mother telling us not to touch anything, I was about five years-old. I remember going through the polio epidemic. I would see kids in wheelchairs and using crutches, and I remember being afraid that I might get it. It was a really hot summer day in Louisville Kentucky, when my mom took my sister and I to a big building, where kids and parents were crammed in together getting their polio shot. Dr. Jonas Salk, had finally discovered a cure for the dreaded disease. My high school boyfriend had polio, when he was a young boy. Eventually, polio was never talked about again, because it was gone, thanks to Dr. Salk.
I remember the Korean War. My handsome, young uncle was in that war. He was a Marine tank commander and his tank was blown up. He was just twenty years old when he died, and I was eight. We wrote letters to each other while he was in Korea, and he was my favorite uncle. I will never forget seeing my grandmother falling down, crying on his grave.
The Vietnam War lasted years. It was a very hard time. My friends were dying or were not the same when they returned home. People hated the war, and there were protests, fears and the worry, that the war would never end. I hated that time, because I was afraid my boyfriend would be drafted. They were taking more men (boys) into the draft all the time. Few people wanted to go, because so many were dying, and it was a war being fought, like none before it. It came closer all the time and was lasting for years. They were drafting unmarried, twenty year-old men, right after my twenty year-old husband and I were married. Then, they were drafting twenty-one year-old men, who didn't have children, and we'd just had our first child. It was the worst of times for so many.
I've live through the racial riots of the sixties. There were curfews, so that we had to be in our homes by 10:00 pm. We lived a mile from the area in town, where homes and bushiness were burning. I had friends who lived there, that It was a very scary time and the worst of times for many. It was a time, when African Americans were rising up, seeking equality. I remember watching Dr. Martin Luther King, as he gave his," I had a dream" speech, live on television. I really didn't understand who he was, in all this fight for freedom at that time, but I was spellbound watching him. I knew that he was someone great, and his speech brought me to tears. This was a fight for freedom, here in our own country, for equality and life. The fight brought change and improvement, sadly not enough. It was the worst of times for so many.
Now, once again, I am in the midst of a war and protests. This time the enemy is once again, a disease, one that makes the polio outbreak pale. Now, once again, people are protesting, but they are protesting against the people, who are attempting to save our lives. This war is world wide, and is taking thousands of lives. It is, once more, the worst of times. So, how can I see the best of times In all this? Clearly, I have experienced bad times in my life, and I lived through them. It was never easy, to see silver linings, in the fights I've lived through. However, I think there may actually be one, in this fight against Covid-19.
While helping my client last night, we were thinking about what good may come out of this
pandemic. We can never get back the thousands who have died, or the suffering of their families. We will never forget the financial struggles, we have, and will have, due to the closing of businesses. There will be much that we will never forget. So where's that silver lining?
I believe that we often do not appreciate things, until we don't have them. It is my hope, that this time of isolation will increase our appreciation, for many things. I am looking forward so much, to seeing my family again. I will never take for granted the hugs and kisses, laughter and just getting together for fun. I think people who are following the rules to keep safe will enjoy that ice-cream and hot-dogs even more, in time to come. I think that many people will enjoy going to work. I know for myself, I really miss seeing my clients, face to face, in my office, something I've always taken for granted up to now. There are so many hardships right now. People are angry that things are not the way they were, or that they are not returning to normal soon enough. I believe they are attempting to return to normal too soon, I fear and their consequence may be their death, or the death of a loved one. This, once again, is the age of foolishness and the age of wisdom.
The best of times are yet to come. I know that this too, will be another thing I've lived through. I will look back on it, as I have other things, that have happened in my lifetime. The best of times will be the lessons I've learned and form which I've grown. The new appreciation of things I've taken for granted, in the past, will be so wonderful. Recovering from all the harm done, during this new coronavirus, will be the best of times. We must have hope,and look forward to that time, when this war is over. We must realize, that although life will be different for many of us, we will be alive and be happier for what we have.
Most people aren't foolish, and understand the wisdom in following the rules. They are taking care of themselves, and their friends and families, by social distancing. Many businesses are showing wisdom, in the many precautions they are taking, to keep their employees safe. Most people are seeing the seriousness, of this worst of times.This virus war will not last forever, but we have to do everything possible to reduce the casualties.
Be safe and remember that this will not last forever.