It has been a year of change and constants. Shortly after a new year was ushered in, we heard of a virus that was sweeping across China and Europe. We saw the devastation that this virus brought to humanity, people gasping for air in ICUs, no known or reliable means of treatment, lack of medical supplies, and healthcare professionals giving up their lives to save others. And then COVID landed on our shores. We were told it was nothing to be concerned about, that it would vanish, that we should not let it dominate our lives or cause us to live in fear.
Ignorance is bliss, and unfortunately, ignorance led to the loss of life as it spread and as it continues to spread across our country with no apparent end in sight. Protection protocols have often been ignored by fellow citizens, putting their lives and my life at risk. Those that work on the front lines in our hospitals are exhausted and discouraged by the apathy they view. As I write, according to the CDC, there are approximately 9 million cases of COVID-19 and over 228,000 deaths in the U.S. as October draws to a close. That’s mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, brothers, and sisters who are no longer with us. Their deaths mean more than just numbers to those families who have suffered their loss. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine, we should anticipate approximately 399,000 COVID deaths in our country by February 1, 2021, if we continue with our same behavior patterns. Worldwide, there are approximately 46 million cases of COVID and approximately 2 million COVID-related deaths, with the United States leading the field in totals.
So, as we are absorbed in the fight against the virus, our country is also thrown into a very contentious election time for the office of president of our country. As if my sanity didn’t have enough to deal with trying to keep those I love and myself healthy, I have to contend with the news coverage of Trump versus Biden campaigns. The hate and distrust that is being spread among us are almost as bad as the virus itself. The pandemic has stretched the patience of all of us and this extra burden of the politics of the day is almost too much to bear. Battle lines are drawn in the sand, friends against friends, family members standing on “opposite sides of the fence.” Will these divisions ever be healed?
Racial injustices, white supremacists spreading their hate, riots in our cities, abuse in our families, mental illness on the rise, you against me, me against you. When will this all end?
As I so often do, I find solace in putting my thoughts down on paper. It is a source of healing for me, a respite from the harsh noises of the world.
And so I wrote the following about my hunger for peace in a world so torn apart.
The soul yearns for peace in this world of turmoil.
I hunger for tranquility and calmness to flow about me.
Words, combative in nature, are being constantly battered about,
banging and growling against the insides of my mind.
So much distrust, so much hatred!
Viewpoints have become swords cutting into the fabric of our society.
Have we all lost the sense of what truly is important,
or is it simply “you against me”?
This hunger keeps me awake at night with its churning;
it is there waiting for me when my eyes open in the dim light of dawn.
Will this hunger for peace ever be satiated?
I wonder and pray for that,
for this hunger is eroding the strength of my heart.
Falling asleep with a full belly.
Reality or folly?
May those who work to heal us and protect us be blessed by our Creator. We owe so much to those among us who work for the common good of our society. May we all find the peace we search for.
Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient.
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