Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. -Gandalf in The Hobbit by Tolkien
I have been thinking about that quote from The Hobbit recently in connection with the great evil of this seemingly endless pandemic that continues to upend our lives. How does one keep the darkness at bay?
We tend to look to our governments for leadership and direction about how to hold the pandemic in check but sadly often that leadership and direction is politically motivated, uninformed by science, or influenced primarily by economic considerations.
Contrary to the belief that the great powers of this world will ease the threat of the pandemic Gandalf’s wisdom implies that what will really stem the tide of COVID-19 are simple acts of kindness and love.
Like….. getting a vaccination, wearing a mask, social distancing and isolating when we are ill. Doing those things isn’t just following mandates that may or may not be the rule of law where we live. It is demonstrating that we love our neighbours and will do our part to achieve the best possible outcomes for our communities.
On Wednesday Premier Heather Stefanson told Manitobans that the government can’t protect them any longer from the effects of the Omicron strand of COVID. She said, “people have to learn to protect themselves.” She is wrong. We have to do far more than protect ourselves. We also have to help protect those around us.
I see folks doing that all the time.
I know people who are offering child care to young parents who have to continue to go to work. Some parents are feeling apprehensive about daycare and school settings right now especially for children too young to be vaccinated or children who have medical conditions. Grandparents and other seniors are stepping into the breach to care for little ones and protect them.
I have retired friends who are working as assistants to direct traffic and collect data at a vaccination clinic.
I know people who are leaving meals or groceries outside the doors of neighbours and family members who are isolated due to COVID.
On social media, I see announcements that people are willing to share their stock of N95 masks with others.
So many people I know are taking a temporary hiatus from their sports activities, friend gatherings, indoor restaurant dining and other social activities to slow the spread of Omicron so hospitals won’t get overwhelmed.
I know people in the health field who are coming out of retirement or using their days off to staff vaccination clinics.
People are donating money to programs that are trying to get vaccines to vulnerable populations both here in Canada and in other countries.
Gandalf said, “It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Gandalf realized the enormous potential in simple acts of kindness and love. We would do well to take his wisdom to heart right now.