Tomorrow will be Good Friday, which is a very important day in the Christian calendar marking the beginning of Easter.
This will be a very different Easter this year for most of us, and yet another reminder of how much things have changed since COVID-19 began to have a major impact on our society. Christians will not be gathering at their churches to celebrate the sacrifice made by their Lord for the sins of mankind. While tomorrow will still be a holiday, with most businesses closed already, it won't seem much different from any other day of the week. Families will not be able to gather with loved ones as usual, and while children will still get chocolate, they won't be having Easter egg hunts with friends and won't get a hug from Nanny and Poppy along with their Easter goodies.
That being said, we all have to be innovative in how we go about celebrating holidays and other social get-togethers such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, funerals and christenings. In this respect, technology has provided ways for people to stay connected and virtually share important events while still maintaining the necessary physical distancing we have to keep to curb the spread of COVID-19. While it isn't the same as actually being there in person, it will help to maintain the connections that bind us together. These are crucial as we move further into this pandemic and face the prospect of even more stringent restrictions on our daily lives.
It gives me the greatest respect for those who are working in our healthcare system and other first responders who daily face much more serious risks in order to provide the vital services that keep our society running.
I work in a residential treatment program and therefore have continued to work throughout this crisis. As with other workplaces, we have had to change how we offer our programs and services to participants and have had to put restrictions on visitation, enhanced cleaning of all surfaces and maintaining physical distancing within a residential setting. We have reached out by phone to participants living in the community to stay connected and help them maintain mental health and have changed to offering take-out meals to participants instead of welcoming them into our facility for meals. It isn't the same as our usual program but we hope that we can help people maintain their health until things can return to normal.
Because we can't do the necessary and vital work we do from home, we continue to follow as regular a routine as is possible. I am very thankful that I continue to have a job to come to as it helps me to maintain a regular structure and gives me a purpose to get out of the house. At the same time, it does entail extra stress because, despite all the precautions we are taking, there is still a very slight risk of picking up the virus at work and an equally slight risk of bringing the virus into the workplace. It gives me the greatest respect for those who are working in our healthcare system and other first responders who daily face much more serious risks in order to provide the vital services that keep our society running.
During Easter, I hope that whether you identify as Christian or not, that you reflect upon the virtue of sacrificing your needs for the better good. There are many of our fellow citizens providing essential services and sacrificing time with their families so that basic services can be maintained. Most of you are being asked to sacrifice a part of your social lives, to stay inside and not physically visit your family and friends until this crisis has passed. It is such a small sacrifice to make for the better health of our society; now is not the time to be selfish and put others at risk just because you felt you needed to physically see a loved one or friend. The reality is that choosing to do so may put them and their loved ones at risk of a virus can be lethal.
Brian Hodder works in the field of mental health and addictions. He can be reached at [email protected].
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