As COVID first reared its head, I, like most people I know, retreated out of harm’s way. This meant self-isolating and minimizing contact with places and people outside my home. As a frequent flyer, when travelling, I’d take pains to hold my distance from other passengers.
Like everyone, I reasoned that these were short-term, temporary adjustments, never suspecting the long haul ahead. But over time, continual reuse hardened those adjustments into habits that are necessary and appropriate.
On my recent trip to Florida, I fell into the now-familiar routine, settling into a seat that allowed me to be among the last to board a plane and first to leave. Only this time, I had unintended company in the form of an 85-year-old gentleman whose conversation came with a message, a timely and redeeming one.
My companion, a retired pilot, had emerged from a life-threatening health crisis. After struggling through recovery in a pandemic-stressed hospital environment, he was eager to resume life as he had once known it.
He was flying to Orlando to be reunited with a friend who was also flying, from Texas. They were about to embark on a cruise they’d had to delay for three years, and my seatmate could hardly contain his joy. I felt delighted for him, and by his refusal to be beaten by hard times.
Back home, just days ago, I had this inspiration again as I watched Stephen, the General Manager of my winery, rise to greet our staff at the winery’s Christmas party. He spoke of what matters most to people today, the celebration being here and now, grateful for the chance to make up for lost time, reclaiming happiness and quality of life and that the human connection prevails despite the pandemic. Scanning the faces in the room, the joyful expressions I saw were proof enough that this is so.
Here then, is my wish to you, that you too will take pleasure and comfort this Christmas and the Holiday Season, sharing the warmth of family and friends around you.