As we head towards the Christmas period in a confusing world of lockdown regulations, hope in light of the positive news on various vaccines, and continued worry about the threat of the pandemic on the health of our loved ones, there appears to be prevailing themes to focus on and prioritise – patience, hope and kindness.
As a country and as individuals, we have been asked to make many sacrifices and changes to our way of life over the past nine months that have at times felt monumental. The virus has cast a shadow over many of our joys and blessings this year, making it difficult not to become jaded and frustrated, and desperate to return to some sort of normality. Our healthcare staff and keyworkers have continued to demonstrate such bravery, commitment and sacrifice to treat patients, and protect and care for the most vulnerable. As always, they deserve our respect, gratitude and admiration. They also deserve our patience.
Our pre-Coronavirus society had often become one of immediate gain and return. And yet, now we are being asked to remain patient, continue to follow regulations which involve restrictions to our movement, social interaction, and often income; and again focus on the greater good and protecting ourselves and each other.
Our continued patience is fundamental to the management of the virus, to protect our NHS, our loved ones and each other. Complacency could be incredibly detrimental to the huge effort being made to control the virus at this pivotal stage.
But patience should not be separated from hope, from persevering with our continued effort in the hope that there are better times ahead.
Even in the darkest and most difficult times, people choose hope. Hope is the simple belief, not wish, that circumstances will get better. That we will come through this crisis, learning and nurturing those sustainable changes that are for the benefit of our communities, able and ready to rebuild a better, fairer and kinder world. The recent positive news on vaccines under development brings great hope, that we are reaching closer to all we have missed, perhaps most fundamentally, human connection and interaction, meeting our friends and loved ones and sharing a meal or conversation face to face. Things I hope we will never take for granted again.
But to reach this will take our continued patience, bolstered by this real hope for the future, alongside a desire to be kind.
The recent World Kindness Day celebrated a key action which has been instrumental to the way in which we have coped throughout this crisis. Being kind to ourselves and others, particularly given the emerging research published by the Office of National Statistics reporting that loneliness in the UK has soared, will continue to help us through this difficult period.
Celebrating our small achievements, offering much needed connection, albeit virtually, to those who need a kind voice, and forgiving each other for the many different ways in which we may be coping, or not coping, with our current circumstances.
Volunteering efforts across the country demonstrate this kindness, through Christmas toy appeals and resilience efforts to keep the most vulnerable engaged and connected. The incredible power of charity continues to be fundamental, highlighting the importance of demonstrating kindness and staying connected despite the separations and challenges associated with the virus.
There continue to be no easy answers to the challenges we face. But there remains a true opportunity to awaken from the other side of this crisis as a kinder, more understanding and more inclusive world, content with all we have, more aware of those who have little, and having gained the insight of patience alongside hope that circumstances will get better.
Coronavirus has highlighted the fragility of human life to a generation that has been blessed without having the pain of world war and great sacrifice. It is now our duty to value, celebrate and take great care of ourselves and each other, and nourish our families and communities in whatever way possible to enable a better future.
Kindness and patience are in fact our true hope for the future.
Please take care of yourselves and each other.