Labour Views: Now is the Time to Reflect and Appreciate

By Jack Bourassa 

Our communities thrive on kindness. Every action has an apposite and equal reaction. For kindness, appreciation must be the consequence. The little things that pull us together as a community often go unnoticed in the midst of our busy lives.

It’s said that every cloud has a silver lining and at times like these it may be difficult to see but rest assured, it’s there. During our ‘normal’ lives we move about frantically to satisfy an insatiable need for more. It’s not until we’re forced to embrace less do we begin to understand how much we truly have.

During these trying times, simplicity has now become our new norm. It doesn’t change who we are, it brings us back to who we are. For many of us there is now a void in our lives that we struggle with and try anxiously to fill with something… anything! Yet, we’ve been inadvertently given a once in a lifetime opportunity for reflection and appreciation.

There are a great many things we take for granted and it’s not until they’re lost to us that we feel a sense of appreciation for them. This unique situation we find ourselves in will lend to a greater expression of that appreciation when we’re able to do so again. I’m sure we will also have a greater appreciation for those who’ve kept our society moving through all of this.

Suddenly, our lives have changed. COVID-19 provided no warning. There was no gradual shift. As of today, we continue to live under state of emergency. Social distancing. No gatherings. Events are cancelled. Summer festivals and concerts are shut down. Frontline workers are in a battle to keep our communities healthy and safe. Essential workers are risking their health to ensure that we have the food and services we need. Many are working from home. Others are facing the sad reality of layoffs. Businesses are struggling. And we’re in this together.

From janitor to truck driver and especially our medical professionals, there are many who’ve put it all on the line during this pandemic to ensure we had what we needed. Which is not to be confused with what we wanted. And to all of them I say, I appreciate all you have done… Thank You! We’re all learning how little we need to be happy and how little it takes to make those around us happy.

Like many other dark experiences in our lives, this situation has a silver lining if you’re willing to look for it. This is the right time to reflect and appreciate. Let’s not undermine the toll of the crisis on our communities; it’s okay to not be okay. But what makes us okay? Being with people… enjoying a cup of coffee with co-workers…. a potluck to celebrate an occasion… a hug from your friend… a family gathering… a dinner with your loved ones… having a nice haircut. Being isolated from those everyday things and people we take for granted has given us time to reflect on what really matters. During this situation, kindness and compassion is reflected in our community. Everyone wants to help out and pitch in. This is what will help us get through the situation and become even stronger.

We will go back to normal, thanks to our frontline workers. But let’s appreciate what ‘normal’ was. Let’s appreciate each act of kindness before, during and after the pandemic. Hindsight will definitely be 2020 as we step out into a new normal. Until then, get lost in what you care about. That’s where you’ll find everything that’s truly important.

This trying time reminds me of Rumi’s, the mystic poet, saying: “When we practice loving kindness and compassion, we are the first ones to profit.” As a community, we collectively profit from acts of kindness. As a community, we must collectively respond with appreciation. So sit down, close your eyes and breathe and we’ll get through this together.

Let’s reflect and appreciate. 


This column appeared in the Yellowknifer on May 6, 2020