The latest provincial order requires the use of masks at businesses and public spaces. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Patience and perseverance needed in efforts to get ahead of COVID-19

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

Ten months on, and we’re still at it: trying – and mostly succeeding – to keep ourselves and our loved ones from becoming victims of COVID-19.

It hasn’t been easy, and it’s far from over.

We are weary; many people have been experiencing COVID fatigue for months. And still, the number of cases of COVID keeps rising weekly, shockingly, in spite of restrictions being put on us. The death count rises. And our spirits fall.

The dreaded second wave is a reality; B.C.s health officer, Bonnie Henry, has called it a storm surge. We may as well call it a tsunami.

We can take some solace in living where we do – in or on the periphery of a small Canadian community. Our COVID numbers have been relatively low. Most people are complying with provincial health authority instructions.

Unfortunately, we can’t take a break from our diligence, even for a moment. But, even in our diligence, we don’t seem to be winning the battle – yet.

We are asked to be patient. However, most of us are tired of being patient. This pandemic was meant to be over long before now. We’re tired of waiting for it to end.

Too bad for us. Patience now is an imperative.

Read more: Police urge respect after Salmon Arm businesses report being harassed over mask rules

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We have to be patient as we wait for a vaccine to be developed, tested thoroughly, purchased and distributed. This will take time. Nothing we do individually will speed this process up.

We are told we need to accept, or at least tolerate, this misfortune, which for many people brings all sorts of suffering –physical, mental, emotional, financial and more. And real patience means waiting – and waiting more – without becoming annoyed or anxious. This is not easy to do.

It’s difficult to not complain about what we are enduring. But complaining doesn’t yield any positive results. Rather, it digs us deeper into the unhappiness we are experiencing, or worse yet, despair.

We are told we need to be persistent in our efforts to contain this virus. We need to exercise single-mindedness as we shoot for the goal of bending the curve, or at least stopping its rise. We must be persistent daily in washing our hands, keeping physical distance, maintaining small social bubbles, monitoring our own health daily, and getting tested if necessary. Persistence requires many ongoing actions to keep us safe.

Overarching all of our efforts to be patient and persistent is the fact we need to persevere. Perseverance is the ability to keep doing something in spite of obstacles. People who persevere show steadfastness and a steady determination in doing what they have to do despite how hard it is or how long it takes to reach a goal. Eventually the obstacle, in this case the COVID-19 virus, will be defeated, and the goal of a healthier, safer world will prevail.

Patience, persistence and perseverance—that’s a lot to ask of each of us. But we don’t have a choice, do we?

Nan Dickie is a Salmon Arm writer and speaker who facilitated a depression support group in that community for seven years.

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