Just a thought… No one can take away my freedom to choose how I will react. [Viktor Frankl]
I have been wracking my brain how to make sense of what has been happening in our nation’s capital and it took a swimming pool to help me figure it out. Here we go.
I’ll start with one word we’ve seen a lot over the past week: “FREEDOM.” We all want freedom. We want freedom from the fear that Covid has wrought for the past two years. We want freedom not to wear masks every day when we’re out. We want freedom to travel, freedom to visit places and family in other countries without concerns that we might run into trouble getting out or getting back in. We want freedom from the exhaustion that so many among us feel; so many health care workers who keep hearing we’re going to have to “learn to live with Covid” while they have to work with it. We want freedom from worry.
We are all fed up. But most of us recognize that the right thing to do is to be adults (or heck, look to the children who don’t complain about wearing masks at school all day) and follow the path to freedom. That path isn’t found on a highway or a congested frigid Ottawa street. It’s in our stalwart Canadian hearts.
It’s stepping up and doing what’s best, no matter how uncomfortable and inconvenient, because it’s not just about us, but the people around us. The vulnerable. The elderly. The young who can’t get vaccinated. Those who are chronically ill and those who are anxiously awaiting treatment for diseases and have had to take a backseat or a bed in a hospital hallway, thanks to the coronavirus.
We want our freedoms, too. But see, we’re going about it a different way. We’re not calling our democratically elected leaders “dictators” or getting our children to hold up signs with obscenities on them. We’re continuing to find ways to stay connected instead of deepening divides that are being preyed upon by outside forces, or by the darkest dregs of our society, no longer in hiding and now brazenly flying their deplorable flags for the world to see.
Side note: when the orange twice-impeached hate monger gives your cause a shout out (as he did from one of his loser tour rallies on Saturday) you might want to rethink your position on things.
While the eyes of many Canadians were on Ottawa Saturday afternoon, let me tell you what I was doing: I was in a huge community pool with Colin, swimming, lounging, playing, laughing, even doing a four-storey water slide three times. The entire outing I had a smile on my face and I realized with some surprise that people could see it because I wasn’t wearing a mask.
I talked with parents and grandparents. I smiled at children. And I thought, Why is this okay? Why am I in a public place without a mask? And then I remembered: because we all had to show proof of vaccination and photo ID before we got in, except for the kids, of course. But I could imagine that many of them had also had their first shot. We were protected, as much as we could be. And for those two wet hours, life felt loud, boisterous and joyful.
That. That is freedom. Would I prefer a playdate to a mandate? Of course. But if that’s what it takes for me to feel free, don’t I – and the 90% of us who’ve been vaccinated – deserve to have a voice, too?