Here we are again! Our news is full of reviews of the past year. We have reviews of “the best” of many parts of our lives. Lists of “the best” books, movies, photographs, and more are being written about. And the end of year 2020, the one of the COVID-19 pandemic, is being rightfully celebrated more than usual. But that is not going to correct the misery of 2020.
As I type these words, two grey squirrels are in our back garden under the dogwood tree. One is under the birdfeeder searching for fallen black sunflower seeds. The other runs up the trunk of the tree, rushes down, rolls in the mulch, sits erect, jumps about and turns somersaults, then pauses to eat a morsel before repeating its acrobatic routine. The one is acting as we expect a squirrel to act while the other’s conduct causes a mix of questions or even concern. Is the flipping squirrel rabid? Is it simply happy to be out and alive? Why is it acting in such an unusual manner while the other acts so normal? The answer is that it has parasites which are causing irritation and itch. It is trying, in its only way, to relieve its discomfort. Unfortunately, it cannot come in to our veterinarian’s hospital to have the parasites eradicated and the awful itch cured. An animal in the wild, it will continue living as it is with the parasites and their itch continuing to be a part of its life.
We are much like that squirrel with the parasites. While it is understandable that we celebrate the end of this awful year, we will continue to live with the cause of so many of our problems such as massive deaths, a poor economy, and loss of social contacts until we fully contain the virus. The vaccines are to be celebrated and taken when made available. However, until then we should continue to do what our school children are instructed to do. It’s that simple, and it must be done, and done by all of us. If we do not, we will be like that squirrel living as best as possible with its parasites as it tries to run, bounce, and scratch its way from them.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Proverbs 27:17 in which it is written that “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” That is wisdom for any person, and it seems especially good in our time. We need to sharpen each other by sharing this load we have. It is not a time to squabble and move apart. Let us be the iron that our neighbor needs instead of being the squirrel under the feeder carrying on as usual while the other suffers its misery.