We launched into the 34th year--2020/2021--of the Family Care Network in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we ended it with the explosion of the “Delta” variant of the virus. The impact of this pandemic on our organization has been, shall we say, extraordinary! Never could I have imagined the pervasive, damaging, and exhaustive experience of living through such an event; and it’s still not over.
Over this past Memorial Day weekend, I spent time ruminating about a trip my wife and I took two years ago to France, and our visit to Omaha Beach during the 75th year celebration of D-Day. We spent a good part of a day walking through the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial–it was sobering to say the least. It is a stark reminder about the cost of freedom; about commitment and sacrifice for a greater good.
Welcome to 2021. After the unforgettable, excruciating events of last year, most people are crawling to the door of change, desperate for fresh air and fresh hope! I’m just not so sure that there will be a bright line of distinction between 2020 and 2021. Truth is, plan on stumbling through the fog and traversing the quagmire produced by this pandemic along with our broken political system. But, as I have stated before, this season will pass. Now is the time for Tough Decisions and Hard Work!
For months, Eric* lived in a converted apartment inside of a garage with his wife who suffered from PTSD, and his autistic son. Eric worked as a part-time DJ, but his full-time job was taking care of his family. Although Eric’s converted apartment sufficed for some time, it wasn’t long until the county condemned their home, and ordered Eric and his family to find “approved” housing within 21 days.
I have heard it said, “Family is not an important thing–it is Everything!” Having a solid, loving family, however you define “family”, and no matter how imperfect it may be, is a gift. It is an invaluable treasure that you want never to lose. Our Family, clan or tribe, not only shapes who we are and what we believe, it also gives us identity, strength, protection and repose. Humans need other humans to survive. Family is the premier institution for shaping and nurturing individual and community health. Family really is Everything!
“In these chaotic times...” Over and over again, in some form or another, I come across this phrase in my conversations--when I turn on the t.v. and as I scroll through social media for just a few minutes. Fires, floods, war, rumors of wars, pandemic illness, reeling economies, scarcity of resources, and community shutdowns have all become characteristic of 2020. While several of these things stem from natural causes, I of course find myself considering the human contributions that have exacerbated them and created the others. How did we get here?
I am so grateful to be a part of the Central Coast community. Even in the midst of these unprecedented times, with uncertainty reaching every corner of our lives, we have come together to support one another. Ever since the COVID-19 health crisis hit us locally, I have seen some amazing examples of generosity and compassion.
In a phone conversation with my sister this past week, she shared a heartwarming story that I really needed to hear considering all that is going on in our world right now. My sister is the head “lunch lady” at an elementary school, and for the past week she has been handing out bagged meals to students in the parking lot of her school. She shared that several of the children who came to pick up lunch one day this past week expressed excitement that they had been provided with cantaloupe in their lunch sack.
There have been times in my life when I didn’t have toilet paper. I usually had a roof over my head (even if it was a carroof), but we didn’t always have finished floors. Did you know that the term “dirt poor” is an Americanism from the 1930s referring to someone living in a house that has a dirt floor? In the United States in the 1990s, I was dirt poor, fleeing from one terrifying temporary non-home to another. Being dirt poor is not just a third world condition, it’s not just a Great Depression Era throw-back, and it doesn’t exclude any race.
DARK and discouraging are these times–all sense of normalcy has been vanquished by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Sheltering in place”, overloaded hospitals, significant shortages of medical and personal supplies, a looming major recession or worse, a depression, and the fear that hundreds of thousands of Americans will die, is all daunting to say the least. Add to these there is an unparalleled political polarization and terrible, ineffective leadership at the federal level. Yes, this is a DARK, foreboding picture indeed!