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  • laurenwhitehurst8

Only Connect

More and more, I am witness to the pandemic ending in the US. Street-side restaurant tables full of people enjoying friends who do not reside in their households. Smiling runners with masks on arms versus on chins. Storefronts with taped-up signs that read “coming soon.” It fills my heart with gladness and optimism.

Traveling today to take my kids to see their grandparents after 18-months of Passover Seder, High School graduation and an 80th birthday on Zoom, I watched as three generations of a family boarded our flight. Holding tuxedos in garment bags to ensure safe transit to a destination wedding, two young men stood over their unsteady grandpa who insisted he would make his own way to his seat. They hovered until he dropped down securely, and then they high-fived him before heading down the aisle.

But early this morning, I also watched last night’s national news only to see that a woman had claimed a million-dollar sweepstakes prize for her decision to be vaccinated. As she told a TV camera that she couldn’t think of a better reason to take the shot, that everyone should be vaccinated because look at what she won, I marveled at her selfishness.

Why is it that so many cannot see beyond how they personally benefit from this small ask of our community? I rejoiced in my vaccination because it set me free, but I also celebrated because I was no longer a harm to others. I am proud that I played my part in returning our society to its new and growing sense of normalcy.

No one is an island. Only connect. Drink Coca-Cola and make the world sing in perfect harmony. It may sound corny, but the fundamental purpose of society comes from connection. Life without connection isn’t worth much; connection is how we thrive -- grandparents with grandchildren, brides with grooms at big wedding celebrations, and all of us traveling to finally hug our family members. As I recall the long airport security line this morning, I can even celebrate that connection – wouldn’t it be wonderful if six feet between human souls just wasn’t needed any longer.

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