I love this time of year. We see lights coming on throughout our neighborhoods as people gather in their homes around tables, in their kitchen and family areas. I imagine the smells of the food being cooked, chuckle at the stories being shared, and smile at the memories being made.
The lights remind us that people are gathering and life and love are happening all around us. Whether you are a family of one, two, three, or more, you have a web of connections.
The people we envision gathered in homes and businesses around our community are the ones we care for as we go about doing our work, and they envision and care for us. It is a web of connection and care.
This pandemic has highlighted the importance of all different kinds of workers and how connected we are to each other. For example, to keep hospitals running smoothly not only do we need nurses and doctors, but housekeepers, counselors, chaplains, admissions personnel, technicians, lab workers, bookkeepers, secretaries, food service workers, dieticians, pharmacists, and therapists of all kinds, just to name a few.
Hospitals also need access to consumable products, from masks, gloves and gowns, soap and sanitizer, to food, paper supplies, medication and bandages, cleaning supplies and on and on. They also need communication networks, computer networks, media, etc. Staff often need to use child care facilities as well as having schools open for their children. Everyone needs grocery stores and other stores stocked with necessities for them and their families. You can see why transportation becomes such a huge issue. And not just truckers and shippers, but road repair crews, fuel suppliers, warehouse workers, etc.
When people faithfully do their jobs it enables others to faithfully do their jobs. It becomes a perfect web of connection and care! Imagine a giant globe covered with thousands of lights, each representing different people doing different jobs. Now add into the mix workers who have to quarantine because of COVID or who are unable to work for other reasons, and people substitute and cover for others as much as possible, but there is a glitch in the system. Imagine that globe with a string of lights out. Perhaps some of the lights shift to cover non-lighted spots but eventually the lights go out in a whole section.
Do you know that you are special and the work you do is very important? On behalf of Let’s end COVID! I want to thank everyone for working hard and doing your best to care for one another! I also want to thank you for relearning our work ethic. By that I mean that we don’t go to work when we feel sick. We stay home and get tested. [Rapid Antigen Test Kits can be purchased locally and used at home. Some are expected to be available free early in 2022 through a government website. PCR tests will continue to be given by contacting your doctor’s office or clinic.] While being faithful friends and co-workers continue the multi-layered system of protection of masking, social distancing, keeping areas well ventilated, keeping good hygiene, and most of all getting vaxed and boosted as able.
During this season of holy days and holidays as we gather with others there are risks. The Omicron variant is spreading and is more contagious than Delta. Be careful at your gatherings, stay home if you don’t feel well, and get tested early to help limit the spread. Use the multi-layered system of protection. Consider taking along an extra home Rapid Antigen Test Kit for someone who came and now doesn’t feel well.
We are blessed to be connected to scientists around the world who have gathered around microscopes to research and develop the vaccines, antibodies and drugs that we are able to use to help to fight COVID. They continue to develop best practices for younger people and find what works best for new variants. We thank them for caring for us so much!
December has many holy days, holidays and festivals including Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. They use lights to cut through the winter darkness and help us see hope and possibility amid the struggles we face in life.
Darkness seems to pervade our world right now. Another coronavirus surge has us worried. Restrictions are tightening worldwide. Locally it affects everything – our homes, schools, and businesses. But none of us are in this alone. We stand with our web of connections. Each one is doing their best and putting into the mix their own web of connections who do their best. We stand united as a giant global entity, caring for one another and making our corner of the world a better place. Join us and Let’s end COVID!
Rev. Gwen Bernstine, pastor, Lycoming Presbyterian Church and retired director of United Churches of Lycoming County, is a member of Let’s end COVID!, a group of concerned people in Northcentral PA working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic through education, outreach and mitigation.