A new promised land



I'm tired of wearing a mask. I'm tired of social distancing.


I miss New York's Broadway.I miss breakfasts at First Light in Scarborough. I want the vegetable bar back at Ruby Tuesday's. I want my Souplantation Restaurant back.


I want to be at a sold-out Fenway Park when the Tigers beat the Red Sox again (granted this has been a rare event).

I want to visit Keukenhof Gardens again. I want to see the Polynesian show at The Guam Hilton Resort & Spa again.


I want to attend the Maine Hospital Association Summer Forum in person at the beautiful Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine again.


I want to tour the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and Museum of Natural History again.


I don't want to wait in social distance lines before entering Target.


I want to attend the New Year's Vienna Philharmonic concert. I want to be able to fly into Guam without having to be tested or worry about being quarantined


I want to take a transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 again and enjoy afternoon tea in the Queens Room.I want to hear the Loma Linda University Men's Chorus again.


I want to see the Radio City Christmas show at the Radio City Music Hall again.


I want to be able to visit my friends again.


I want, I want, I want!


As I mulled over all of my complaints, I realized sounded just like the Children of Israel, who were led out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery and later complained to Moses, wishing they were still in bondage.


They went through some dangerous places and endured challenging circumstances as they traveled through the desert toward a Promised Land that "flowed with milk and honey.”


Even though they were being led toward a better and safer future, human nature took hold. They started whining and focusing on the negative. They wanted meat and bread, which were part of their diet in slavery.


As I pitied myself for all the things I've been missing from the old normal, I realized I was no different from those sojourners, who succumbed to pessimism.


So I started making a mental list of the positive things that have come out of horrific circumstances we've all had to deal with.


1. The flu was non-existent. Due to mask-wearing and social distancing, there was no substantial flu outbreak this past year, saving perhaps more than 50,000 lives in the U.S. that were previously lost to the flu.

2. There is now a greater appreciation for grocery and foodservice personnel. We have taken these hard-working crucial workers for granted for too long and we now can see how much they mean to our lives.


3. The true value of our health care heroes has been revealed. We have witnessed one of the greatest demonstrations of heroism, dedication and selflessness in our country's history. Doctors, nurses, caregivers and all health care providers put themselves at risk, in many cases sacrificing their very lives, to take care of the Covid-stricken patients.


4. Better infection control. Everyone has gained an increased awareness of the importance of good hygiene. Hotels, airplanes, restaurants and all public places are now cleaner and safer as a result of new public health measures.


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5. We are better prepared for pandemics in the future. Scientists are now gaining the experience that will be needed when the next virus/pandemic appears.


6. We are still here and vaccines have minimized the risk of death and serious illness going forward. We tend to under-appreciate the hope we have now. We've been able to survive during the past year when others were not so fortunate.


Through science, our public health and medical professionals have made it possible for us to survive this deadly disease and dream again of a "new promised land" flowing with milk and honey and a quality of life we can all enjoy.


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Unfortunately, Covid-19 is such a wicked virus that there are many more surges and dangers to be traversed through in our desert journey before we reach herd immunity in a new kind of promised land.


Therefore, it's in our best interest to continue being careful, doing the things that are prudent while this deadly virus is still kicking around.


With the progress we're making, instead of focusing on all the things I'm missing, I think I will start dreaming of a new normal in a new promised land.


Hopefully, it won't take another 40 years to get there.


Theodore Lewis, former CEO of Guam Memorial Hospital, runs a health care consulting business based out of Portland, Maine. He is collecting stories about lessons learned in life and can be reached at theodorelewis@yahoo.com.



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