The 2020 Holidays

by Ross Bishop

The 2020 Holidays

If  you are a Trump supporter, the holiday season may not be much different than normal. It will be the usual stress and anxiety raised by having to deal with one another in person. Of course, this is supposed be a joyous and happy time, but I suspect that even in red states things will be somewhat toned down.

It’s not just running the marathon of parties, etc. that gets to you. The stress is coming straight from your inner kid. She loves the things about the holidays that you do – the love, the sharing, the gifts, the gathering with friends and family, but there is another side too.

Every party, every gathering, poses a threat. What if she embarrasses herself? What if she makes a faux pas in front of people who will judge her? What if she gets tipsy and admits that she really doesn’t like country music?

You want to go to these affairs, but she has mixed feelings. Part of her would be much happier curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate. But you are going to make her do this thing, and she’s not going be happy about that.

But for the rest of us, this is going to be a really unusual holiday season.  COVID has us hunkered down at home. Where we used to rush around shopping and going to parties, visiting family, etc., it’s going to be gifts delivered by mail or wrapped by Amazon and family gatherings over the internet. If people travel, they will need to quarantine. Meals will be scaled down and much quieter than when the whole family gathers. Thanksgiving grace may be said via Zoom.

And gift giving is just not the same when Grandma or Grandpa is on the laptop or the phone. There will probably be a melancholy emptiness to the days that used to be filled with laughter and sharing. You’ll probably even miss the stress . . . . It will be like a special time with the folks you already spend every day with.

For millions of others there will be the special grief of losing someone close due to COVID. They never got closure because with the virus quarantine –  you cannot even say goodbye or hold a hand. And for these people added to the other emotions of the season will be feelings of anger, emptiness and helplessness.

Special times bring special challenges. They force us to look at life through different eyes. The special challenge of this holiday season will be to find as many moments of joy and happiness as we can and then also to acknowledge the profound sadness that casts a dark pallor for many this holiday season. It will also be a time to acknowledge the everyday things we usually take for granted.  It is important to acknowledge the myriad of feelings all probably have, and to not stuff or ignore them.

I am angry at this virus for killing so many beautiful people. I am angry at our stupid President who through his negligence caused many innocent people to die. I am also angry at the red state governors who refused to close down and protect their people and put the rest of us at risk. I am saddened by the loss of so many beautiful people and for the family members and friends who have lost loved ones.

I am grateful this holiday season for everyone who is healthy. I usually take my own health for granted, but I am especially grateful this year that I am alive and well. At my age I am also grateful that I live in a state with a governor who has been strict about COVID control. My confinement has been difficult sometimes, but I am grateful that staying at home has kept me alive and well.

 I am so grateful this season for the doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospital staffs that are working tirelessly to keep people alive and mitigate their suffering. I am grateful for the store clerks, truck drivers, teachers, police and fire department personnel and food bank volunteers who continue to do their jobs in the face of the virus. I am saddened for the many people who have lost their jobs – the store clerks, waiters and waitresses and all the other people whose businesses have suffered.

So my lessons from this experience will be ones of profound saddness and gratitude – for a great many things.  In the spring the vaccine will come and then these dark days will be largely forgotten, but I sincerely hope that the gratitude we all learned when we faced the crisis will remain with us.

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2020

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