THIS WEEK, I GOT a lovely letter from an 86-year-old friend. In it was the news that she had been vaccinated from Covid.
All the news reports, and Twitter tweets I read this week did not compare to the message in that letter. More than anything, the letter was a reminder to me that we are going in the right direction.
By right direction, I mean that we have made the right decision to protect the most vulnerable first, not the most powerful.
Some might think that the words that dominate this pandemic are “social distancing”, “protocols”, “uncertain times” and “unprecedented”. These words seem to be everywhere. Those are some of the words that I’m most looking forward to using less once this pandemic is over.
But there are other words from this pandemic that are equally powerful, like “care”, “compassion”, “vulnerable” and “generosity.”
This week’s news of the reported trip of a rich CEO (now formerly CEO) husband and actress wife to a remote First Nations settlement in the Yukon to jump the vaccine queue launched an outpouring of outrage and condemnation. Their alleged actions go against our community values.
The direction that we’re going, that as community we value protecting the most vulnerable, was there before Covid. But the pandemic has affirmed that this is one of our core values. This is who we are. Queue jumping, self-servers do so at their peril. We are the opposite of queue jumpers. We let the most vulnerable go first.
My 86-year-old friend and I have taken up writing letters to each other this last year. She is too far away for me to see, and even if she was closer, it wouldn’t be possible now. Letters seem the most appropriate way to keep in touch. It’s so great getting her greetings in the mail asking after me and my family and wishing me well.
Her warm words of encouragement to me tell me that, no matter our age, the value of caring for others is part of who we are.
As Dr. Bonnie Henry implores us to do more, to get through these last few months of the Covid pandemic, remember that doing more includes reaching out to each other, saying a kind word to a stranger, and giving thanks to a front-line worker.
We’re going in the right direction, and that direction is looking after each other.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.