My Gratitude

I’m writing this a few hours into 2021. And what a year it was.

Turmoil. Conflicts. I don’t remember such a consequential year during my lifetime.

The monumental presidential election. A huge dynamic in national and world economy and politics. Unprecedented deception in the media. Everything topped by a monstrous pandemic. The coming changes in our life, personal and professional, will be far-reaching. All the changes deeply affected and will affect our material and spiritual welfare. During that time, fortunes were lost, and vast fortunes were made. Some friends disappeared, and we found new ones. Families often fell apart. The individual health was affected, and usually for the worse. Some problems, somatic, were more visible, some, mental, came up stealthily.

I try to reach into my memory and find another upheaval similar to the one we’re witnessing now. Anything close I remember were years of WW2, of course, maintaining proper proportions. I’ve heard stories from my parents, read as much as I could, and lived following that terrible shakeup. The system imposed on us after the war had changed the life of our two generations, at least. The numbers don’t compare: 75 million dead versus 2 million, though still counting — now. Nothing compares with 500 million, and a third of the world population during the Spanish flu. Nevertheless… After a while, numbers just mean little.

But at the end of 2020, I still feel deep gratitude. Paradox? Not really.

The extreme circumstances, like I’ve witnessed this year, bring the worst of people, but also bring up the best. Some people tried to justify not taking care of their elders by the mandatory separation. But some did everything to be in touch. Some close friendships fell apart because of diverging political views. Some became stronger. I’ve seen young people buying groceries for elders, confined to the four walls of their apartments. I’ve seen the funerals being postponed when borders in Europe separated children from their dying mother. However I also saw a daughter, living in California, rushing to Poland to assist her Alzheimer-stricken 90-year-old mother, and not planning to leave her there until her health, and the health of the world will stabilize.

During WW II, people often knowingly sacrificed their wellbeing, and often life, for the others. Their only reward was just a gratification of doing something good.

And that’s nothing new.

The human nature hasn’t changed.

And I know, and know for sure, that after the pandemics, people emerge stronger.

Because human nature hasn’t changed.

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