Everyone we know has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, some much more than others. We have all experienced pain, stress, anxiety, a general sense of loss and uncertainty. With time we come to realize that we have to face what is absolutely essential in our lives. Our health, our means to survive, our relation to the ones dear to us, and for some, our intense connection with nature. Essential is also the term we use to describe those who accomplish tasks of dealing with what life needs to go on. The ones who heal us, who feed us and sustain us. They are the essential workers, the ones we absolutely need to survive as people and as communities. Of course, we are extremely grateful to all those people who at times put their own health on the line to help us all.

There have been many emotional expressions of thanks to these special people, worldwide and locally. But the most meaningful thank you we could express would be to remain focussed on the essential elements of life, of all our lives.

One positive outcome of this pandemic has been the tangible signs of so many people’s concern for others. News so often emphasizes negative events, but there has been a huge outpouring of help to those in particularly needy situations. This is true worldwide and has certainly been demonstrated in this community.

In order to preserve our health and the health of our community, we must remain mindful and respectful of the new social and sanitary rules; we must remain generous in the help we can provide to those less able to look after their own means to survive; we must remain conscious of the importance of our close friends and families when everything else seems to collapse around us; we must measure the even greater importance of a healthy environment in light of the uncertainties we face.

There is a lot of speculation about what will change in our future after this pandemic. We do not even know when the “after’’ will happen.

Returning to the essential has proved to be sustaining throughout this ordeal and is likely to be the prevailing certainty we have facing the future.