Goshay: It's a season of gratitude and grief


If you’re a person who doesn’t know of anyone who’s had COVID-19, keep living.

Despite promises that it would vanish with the warm weather, or like magic, or through “herd” immunity, it has instead spread like a prairie fire to the point where yet another holiday has been taken hostage.

We’ve been an unbelievably blessed nation. We Boomers have surfed the high tide of American prosperity nearly all of our lives, which is why we tend to melt down when things don’t go our way.

Nobody does holidays better than Americans. After our obligatory “Thanks for the grub, God,” everything screeches to a halt as we eat, drink, rinse, repeat.

Being able to celebrate with the people you love is the good stuff of life. But sometimes love requires that we do what’s best for them.

I’m one of the lucky ones in that my family enjoys being together. I am grateful, and I grieve that we won’t be able to do so this holiday season.

It simply isn’t worth the risk.

In St. Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he reminds us that love does not seek or demand its own way; that it protects, hopes, believes in and endures that which is best for others.

No one can argue that this has been difficult. We’ve had to completely change the way we think and live and move through the world.

There have been days for all of us when it feels like there’s no end in sight.

Those are the days when you most want to be with your tribe.

The moment in which we find ourselves requires hard choices; it just does. It requires believing in science. Given how easy it is to make money any other way, it requires trusting that the people charged with our public health are motivated by a calling to serve others.

I grieve that our country has become so balkanized that a disease is being wielded as a blunt object against those who are only trying to save us from ourselves. Ironically, in their bid to protect our health, their well-being is being threatened by others who hold no value for expertise that does not support their worldview.

I grieve that a portion of us has embraced demagoguery and dismisses such expertise as elitism, though who wouldn’t want an elite physician, nurse, scientist or police officer to come to our aid?

It’s easy to say, “Oh well, you get what you ask for,” but I feel for the families of those people who rejected and ignored the warnings until it is too late.

We all should grieve for the empty places at last Thursday’s table.

I’m grateful that the experts have continued to do the hard work necessary to find our way out of this current wilderness.

I’m grateful for the other medical professionals and the educators who have taken their own lives into their hands from the moment this virus erupted. While the rest of us ran home, they ran in the opposite direction, right into the fray.

It’s sorrowful to see how some of the people who are supposed to act in our best interests have instead behaved as human windsocks for fear of criticism or a bad tweet, or of being cast as an enemy of the people, or of being pushed out of an elective office that was never theirs to keep.

It’s fine to be scared. Moral cowardice is an altogether different story.

I’m also grateful that there are those among us who have been willing to risk everything for the greater good. Our culture loves heroes and the mythology of heroism, all while ignoring the sacrifices which are required to become one.

It’s no coincidence that heroism and truth are both transformative. Science is the pursuit of truth, without which we will never defeat this disease.

Though we have been irrevocably changed by this experience, if we are to achieve any measure of restoration, we must find the courage to pass through this crucible. It’s the only path back to the family table.

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP