As I think about the trying times we’ve all endured over these last 12 months or so, I can’t help but ponder the terrible losses that many have suffered. Of course, the loss of loved ones is at the top of that list, as nothing can match that, in my opinion.
Next has to be the isolation from those we hold so dear. I can’t imagine what it was like for those elderly couples who were separated from each other and unable to visit the person you had spent your entire adult life with, or with children who wanted to hug those parents who were quarantined in nursing homes. The feeling of helplessness in wanting to provide them with the emotional support and love they so desired must have been devastating.
In the case of my sister and me, we both wanted so desperately to see my brother one last time before he passed from the ravages of pancreatic cancer, which over a four-month period took his life shortly after his release from the hospital. We would make It, but were never able to spend any quality time with him prior to his passing only days after our arrival.
Men and women who had devoted their lives to building a business would see it lost due to the economic ravages of the Pandemic. There were those who lost their jobs and with that, all hope for the future.
Our hearts go out to all those affected in ways too numerous to list, and for that I am sad today and can only hope that the future brings brighter days ahead. Hopefully, we will have time then to reflect on what are the important things in life: Our families and the responsibility we have to take the time to be with those to whom we owe so much.
But we also should think about what I feel was another aspect of life that we must try to recover. That lies in what became a loss of patience and our respect for that.
American author Joyce Meyer had a unique view on that word when she said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we are waiting.” Think about it and let those words sink in for a while and reflect on our own lives today.
It would be easy to blame the loss of “patience” as a result of the events of the last 12 months. It seems everyone from politicians to the person who cuts your lawn claims some link to the tragic COVID-19 Pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, we have seen much suffering due to this invisible enemy which spread around the world, not just here.
Over the last several decades we seem to have become a culture of “entitlement,” believing we have a right to expect more than we should. It seems more of our citizenry has moved in that direction than we might realize.
I think back to my parents’ generation and those of their parents – the men and women who came through Ellis Island, across the southern border or through San Francisco as immigrants. They didn’t look for a handout, but instead, sought the opportunity for a better life than what was afforded them in the lands they escaped from. They came legally and with what they could carry, and in a very short time, became part of the American dream and built on that success.
My parents were born as first-generation Americans from parents that sought that very dream on both sides of my family tree. They did it on their own, not without difficulty, but with a strong will and desire to carve out a better life for themselves.
We no longer seem to want to wait at a red light or be patient in line today. We have grown into a society that seeks instant gratification rather than maintaining a sense of appreciation for those who work hard to serve us.
Now I don’t mean to say this is the case all the time, but it is becoming more prevalent in our society than the simple gesture of kindness or patience. It is up to us to change that direction we seem to be heading. It is up to us to have the courage to make those fundamental changes in how we act and react within our society today.
The sacrifices that were made by the generations who came before us solidified the great gifts of freedom that were bestowed upon later generations. If those priceless gifts to live as a free people are to survive, me must change course.
There is nothing wrong with a nation that cares for its elderly and those in need. Our core values as Americans call for that. We see that being done everyday throughout our great county and right here on our island on a regular basis. However, as Americans we must regain that pride in knowing we are part of the solution, and not the problem.