Forward or Back?

We’re coming to the end of another eventful year and with that day comes a dilemma. Do we look forward or back? Have you ever really stopped to think about that choice before now?  Maybe we all should.

The world has struggled through a second year of the pandemic – people dying and families mourning the loss of loved ones.  Hospitals and health care workers stretched beyond any conceivable breaking point for months and months on end.  Borders closed and then opened and then closed again.  Masks required and edicts ignored. Poor countries desperate for the vaccines they can’t afford.  Rich countries fighting over whether or not to get those ample supplies of a lifesaving vaccine into arms all while the virus morphs and spreads seemingly unabated.

All of that misery and strife is on top of the normal plights of humanity and for those touched by any of it, 2021 is a year most of us would love to see in the rear view mirror while 2022 brings hope that things will be better and we will all be able to go back to normal.

Or can we? Having been through some pretty big disasters, I know even after the problem passes that what we previously considered normal will more often than not be unattainable. Surviving something so momentous as a world-wide pandemic has changed all of us in ways we may not understand. Masks may well become a staple of our futures. People who used to go to work when they were ill may finally and blessedly stay home and spare the rest of us from their germs. Social distancing, while no longer recommended or mandated, may well have become ingrained in us and standing shoulder to shoulder with a stranger who’s health and hygiene habits you know nothing about will be uncomfortable enough to avoid those situations. We have been changed forever and when the pandemic is over it will be a new normal.

But will it all be bad? The pandemic has reminded us of so much that is good. Our busy lives that pulled families in separate directions were interrupted when people quarantined at home.  Families, forced to spend time together, were reminded of the value of being together.  Parents and children, brothers and sisters and in some cases even multi-generations were reminded that being home as a family can be wonderful.  We learned once again how to talk to each other and interact in close quarters and how to resolve our disputes when before it was simpler to just walk away. And, with no commute, families had more time for the most important part of our lives – each other.

As quarantines were lifted and people began being vaccinated, something we previously took for granted – leaving the house for a meal or a movie or a party – took on special meaning.  If anything, the past two years have given us a taste of how things used to be.  We set aside our busy lives and cared and worried about others.  We spent time together and were reminded of who we are as individuals.  We read books and helped children with homework.

We also redefined what it means to be a hero. It’s not athletes and movie stars. The heroes of the last two years have been every day hard-working people.  Health care workers, emergency responders, janitors, store clerks, refuse haulers, utility workers and others.  These are the people who went to work every day putting their lives on the line while the rest of us stayed home and they still do it each and every day. They are the true heroes of this pandemic.

As 2022 offers what I hope will be the finish line in the pandemic I ask you this question…. forward or back?  I for one am looking forward.  Forward to a future where we will come together again because we want to and not because we have to.  A future where the entire world beats a virus and from this experience learns that working together we can do anything.

In 2022 and always I wish you happiness and peace; love and prosperity; and above all, good health and time with your family.

Be well my friends…


Published by walkbal1372

Barbara A. Luker is the author of "Remembering You" (publication 2020) - a story of love, loss and finding the way back. She is a life-long resident of Saint Peter, Minnesota where she hones her writing craft working for the City of Saint Peter. Luker is a Certified Municipal Clerk, a devoted fan of the Minnesota Wild, and a supporter of numerous animal rescue organizations.

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