Writers’ series: Lessons Learned During COVID

(Editor’s note: With the COVID-19 pandemic one-year mark already observed, we asked members of the WhipCity Wordsmiths to share their thoughts on how their lives have changed – perhaps forever – and as always – their insight into every day life is illuminating. Today’s submission in the ongoing writers’ series is by Iris Alderson.)

WESTFIELD-Iris Alderson grew up in England 40 miles south of London.

She is an inspirational writer with more than 150 articles published in numerous magazines including the Catholic Digest, The Lutheran Digest, and Women’s World.

For many years she wrote for the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram and the Springfield Republican. 

She is a member of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Westfield.

Iris Alderson is an inspirational writer and a member of the WhipCity Wordsmiths. (MARK M. MURRAY PHOTO)

Her submission is titled “Lessons Learned During COVID.”

Lessons Learned During COVID  

In 1788, Scottish poet, Robert Burns wrote “Auld Lang Syne,” a popular song often sung during New Year celebrations. One line from that song asks, “Should old acquaintances be forgotten?” Perhaps not, but because of COVID we may feel it’s better to forget the last year altogether, rather than look back when so many lives were lost, and our ways of worship, work and living, changed. 

While we may not look back on two hundred and twenty with any kind of fondness, there are things I’ve learned that I don’t wish to forget. I especially want to remember the goodness that sprang to life during the darkest of days, especially people helping people in whatever way they could, serving others in many diverse ways; especially doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to care for others while putting their own lives at risk.  

I want to remember that light appearing in the darkness during the early days of COVID, when Italians under lockdown gathered on their individual balconies singing, playing flutes and other musical instruments to the amazement of the world. 

If ever the words of the Christmas Carol, “Joy to the World,” had any special meaning, those captured moments of men and women singing on balconies, and others doing similar communal things, certainly did.

I learned about, and am grateful for telemedicine that enable us to have a fifteen minute consultation with the doctor in the comfort of our own home, without having to step on the doctor’s scale, that has an uncanny way of continually reading my weight wrong, as that little metal arrow points in the wrong direction instead of the right. 

And then there is Zoom.  

Zoom exploded onto the scene during the darkest days of isolation when we needed it the most. This technology allowed us to communicate with work, family and friends, and even attend church, and prayer services and partake in the Holy Mass in ways we never thought possible.  

I am grateful for the gift of an e-reader when the libraries closed, enabling members to digitally browse through the library any time of day or night.      

I never thought I would feel grateful growing up in a time and place where many foods were rationed, and our way of life was one of making do or going without. This mindset served me well whenever I found empty shelves at the supermarket. Like St. Francis of Assisi, I learned to accept those things I could not change, helping me remember God is still in charge.  

Last but not least I’ve learned wearing a mask is not so bad after all. Just this morning after weeding a flower bed, I needed to run to the store. I saw no need to change out of my muddy clothes, bother with hair or make-up, because behind a mask, who knows this sloppily dressed person—is—me. 

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