Guest editorial: Pandemic requires us to cherish our Park City community |

Guest editorial: Pandemic requires us to cherish our Park City community


Be not afraid. Have respect. The pandemic is upon us.

Living in fear: Those who live in fear of the pandemic do foolish things: They hoard (toilet paper? Really?). They hoard food, staples and medical supplies that are desperately important to those who really need it — medical staff, those with limited incomes, those whose jobs are at risk. Fear increases our propensity for selfishness and self-centered attitudes. Fear isolates us and pulls us apart. Fear paralyzes us when bold action is desperately needed.

Living with respect: Attention must be paid. The pandemic is real. It can kill. Thus, the “protocols” being asked (required?) of us must be heeded. Respect must be given to the wisdom of our state’s political leaders, our county’s Health Department and those who manage and work in our excellent medical facilities. It is they who are charting a path that can return us to normalcy. Hopefully that will be soon.

There is a dark side to our protocols that also must be named and addressed. We call it “social distancing.” It names the everyday things we now must do. Wash our hands (again and again and again). No handshaking, hugging, kissing among friends. Maintain a distance (6 feet) from others. If you’re sick stay home. If you are elderly, if your health is compromised — don’t go out. Avoid crowds. Close our churches, wards and synagogue, our places of entertainment and venues where large gatherings are possible. It means canceling our civic programs and local meetings and social gatherings. Social distancing. Cutting ourselves off from one another.

The irony is that, if ever there was a time when we desperately need to pull together, work together and be united to each other as a community and as a town it is now. Necessary though it may be from the perspective of health, social distancing undermines the important social fabric that makes us a community and from which emerges the wisdom and understanding that heals.

Respect for the dangers of the pandemic requires us to live responsibly. Follow the protocol. Take precautions.

But respect for the pandemic also requires us to cherish and protect and work together for our now-threatened community.

Who will reach out in your neighborhood to those vulnerable seniors who can’t get to a grocery or who just need a visit from a friendly face? Who will wipe down the tables and chairs, trays and cups and then feed the children who have long relied on school lunches as the main staple of their diet? Who will bring hope and light and laughter to our friends living in fear? Who will be mindful of the workers who will be laid off and unpaid? When restaurants and small stores and other businesses struggle, who will patronize them? Who will leave the safety of their home to give generously of their time and talents to ameliorate the sick, the weak, the hungry, the vulnerable?

And, when the shadow of the pandemic passes and the glimmers of light emerge, will our churches and schools, our arts community and our live theaters, be prepared and ready to again bring life and laughter and joy to a people who have been living too long in pandemic darkness and who then will crave the light?

Fear or respect? Living in isolating darkness or working together for the light?

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