Preferring to live life looking forward, I pause to reflect on the goose bump moments of the past year, for it was indeed a year like no other. A colleague described it as our generation’s equivalent of World War II, but I believe what we faced, and sadly continue to face, is a different type of enemy – one that has no address, it doesn’t discriminate, its target is simply us, and it has held the world in its grip for far too long.
Out of adversity, and at times lawlessness, inevitably emerges good – goose bump moments that remind us of the immense generosity that exists within us, and which emerged following that Monday night, 23 March 2020, when our President announced the hard lockdown. Disbelief and fear were the emotional yardsticks of that address, but the goose bump moment for me was his closing comment which characterised many “family meetings” that were still to come: “May God bless our country and keep her people safe.”
Last month I was permitted to register for a vaccine and indeed I did, accessing that online platform at the first opportunity. Two hours in a queue late on a Friday afternoon in the corner of a carpark of a local shopping centre did little to quench my enthusiasm but my goose bump moment was not getting the vaccine itself – it was the moment when the nurse, who had been on her feet all day administering injections to hundreds of people, and who had been at it for weeks prior to that, smiled at me and said “Thank you for coming and for helping to keep us all safe.”
As we celebrate Women’s month, we at Garlicke & Bousfield salute the women who reached out and connected, beyond the safety of computer screens, in whatever way they could, to help others in fighting the effects of this pandemic and the tragic lawlessness that we have just survived, the feeding schemes these women initiated, the selfless care and courage they demonstrated. We salute the employers who dug deep to avoid retrenchments, the entrepreneurs who reinvented themselves and launched new businesses, providing employment where optimism was being sorely challenged. We salute the law enforcement agencies and the front-line workers – the doctors, the pathologists, the laboratory employees, the nurses, and those who are so often overlooked – the people involved in the end-of-life work, who tried to maintain dignity and compassion despite the grim daily reality they faced.
Covid may not yet be defeated, but may we never experience the anarchy we have recently confronted again. May the lessons we have learned in the past year make us a better version of what we were, and may God bless our country and keep her people safe.