Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

I was honored to be asked my opinion of what my priority for our community in a post-COVID Midland is. I found that putting my pen to paper and then those thoughts into a typed end-product for all to see took me longer than I anticipated – which made me a little angry at, or unkind in thought to, myself.

The phrase “objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are,” has never been truer. And the phrase is not just from a Meat Loaf song about hope, growing up and loss. After well over a year’s time, and millions of COVID-19 related deaths globally, I don’t have to look back to know that COVID’s impact will likely always loom large in everyone’s rearview mirror.  I also know that I have to be looking forward in order to see my rearview mirror, and I don’t have to look back to know that I was one of the extremely lucky ones during COVID.

Working in the banking industry, my job was considered essential and because I have a private office, I was allowed to conduct my day-to-day work at my actual place of business. I was extremely blessed that my 80-year-old parents remained healthy and at home in the company of their beloved English Bulldog Max. Of my five brothers and sisters, their respective spouses and their children (20 in total), each remained healthy, employed and a part of their communities. My heart goes out to so many others who were not so fortunate in so many ways. COVID was not something for which anyone could have planned, and its wide array of disastrous effects will not soon be forgotten.

At the age of 51, I have lived long enough to see many things – some wonderful and some, like the effects of COVID – terrible, and I know that there is still so much for me to do, give, see and experience. With that in mind, putting my pen to paper and my thoughts in typed form took on the focus of this article.

While we are all so much more than the sum of our parts – what we think, say, do – the one thought that kept coming back to me while writing this is, “words matter.” For the umpteenth time in a day, I saw the phrase “be kind” and this time I sat down to think about what those words really mean. Did they mean that I should tip my service providers extra generously? Or that I needed to go to a drive-through lane and pay for the order – or orders – behind me? Did they mean that I should hug a stranger? Looking to the internet, I found that, “three things in human life are important, the first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

And while I was sitting at my kitchen counter, typing this, I spied a wedding invite that directed me to, “Kindly Reply.” There’s those words again – be kind.

So, as I reflect upon this COVID impacted last 18 months, and I think what does “being kind” really mean, I think it means that each of us has a personal responsibility to each other. We are to act with integrity on all things. We are to use our words, deeds and actions wisely and not at the expense of others. The COVID pandemic put people at a distance and that distance was most often bridged via a digital divide.

 

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