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Leon Bibb: Twelve months in, what have we learned?

With a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel, there are important lessons to take with us as we move forward.

CLEVELAND — We are twelve months into it, having gone through four seasons of the pandemic which still nags us. It changed us in that its touch was deadly and demanded so much of us in so many ways.  

So I ask if we have learned anything from a world-wide trouble. I learned what I have long known; I just have learned it even better. Life is beautiful but I am constantly reminded of its vulnerability. Life is fragile. It can be with us one moment and gone the next.

Medical people have seen that first-hand in tragic numbers. Those working the frontlines have looked into the faces of life hanging in the balance. In hospitals, medical people fighting COVID have shown two emotions simultaneously: fear and hope. Their hands were busy with instruments of medical hope. Other times, their hands were human touch to those in the final breaths of life. We know life is precious, but the pandemic forced us to understand that even more.  

Outside the hospitals were the troubled societal and economic aspects of what the pandemic has taken from the everyday existence. Add to that the emotional impact of necessary separation from loved ones and friends to lessen the pandemic's spread, we better understand we humans are social animals in need of human touch. But now we pin hope on the vaccines. Vaccinations are now in a speed-up. 

There is a light at the end of the long dark tunnel of despair.  

'Light at the end of the tunnel' is old phrase meaning to be near the end of a difficult task or situation. The light shows the way out. In this pandemic, we are not there yet, but we know the way. Not only does the light show the route, the light down the way symbolizes hope.

This whole year has been one of hope. Hope in finding better times.  When the vaccine entered, we learned it will save lives. But there is something else we learned; something we always knew in our heart of hearts. The last year has been a reminder brought by a pandemic which shows us in a harsh way we are in this together regardless of whether we thought about that idea before or not. Even though we must remain socially distanced from each other, my perspective is about our need for a togetherness in the general idea of life's importance for everyone.  

Even now – especially now in this pandemic –– we share the situation because we exist under the same sky. And really – think about it – take our breaths of life from the same air which surrounds us all.  

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Editor's Note: The below video aired on February 9, 2021