A few miles down the road from this keyboard, people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This is real. As real as the calculated and incalculable loss and setbacks that have hit this country over the past nine months. We can hardly believe it. Because hoping against hope was almost too painful at times. Because this day would only mark the very beginning of the long end and even after that the echoes and tremors of this pandemic will be felt for years.
But that day, today, a day just like the last 100 that have blended together is here. And it feels incredible to have such good news. To see such good news. To see the faces of frontline health workers receiving the shot in communities far-flung yet all bound together by this cruel virus. To know that there's real collective hope for the first time in a long time.
It's hard to process. Like when someone gives you a warm look or an embrace when you're feeling most isolated. The positivity is jarring and the first reaction is to rebuff it after gloom and doom becomes that status quo. You haven't allowed yourself to think about better days because there was no promise they'd ever come and the when was far more anxiety inducing than the day to day.
The realization that this is a good thing, a great thing even, grabs deep down into the soul and rousts the person you were before all this. You start to think about what it'd be like to be that person again and not one trying to be that person through all this. It's intoxicating and life-affirming and extremely powerful.
So you savor it for a few minutes. You reflect on the good decisions buried under a mountain of bad ones that have led to this progress and you consider it a miracle. You spend some time thinking about it and being thankful before coming back to reality and the realization that there are so many more families and backs that will be broken before the vaccine reaches its saturation point in communities. You try to be cautiously optimistic or better yet, not detrimentally negative for a few more months.
The greatest thought of all, though, is this. The very real possibility that once the good news begins, the more of it will come and with greater frequency. That the wind-down like the ramp-up to vaccine won't be as protracted as feared even two weeks ago.
A shot in the arm? One that makes you regain feeling after being asleep? You're damn right it is.