So I caught it. I caught the “Rona”, the “Big C”. Whatever the term is. COVID-19, after 20 long months, has stormed through our home and provided everyone a positive swab. We cooked up presumably-delicious steaks last night, which I could neither taste or smell. I lost those senses about 48 hours ago.

That’s really all it’s done to us, mind you. Thankfully, COVID hit our home after a vaccine was prevalent and after so many precautions have been put in place. We’ve truly had it easy.

It’s interesting though, being on this side of the story now.

We live in the lowest vaccinated health region in the province. I think it’s the lowest region in the country.

COVID-19 is extraordinarily political here. Extreme views are the norm. One side thinks the government is attempting to use a virus to gain more control over our lives. The other side is deathly afraid of a virus, to the point of shutting out their vaccinated loved ones for more than 20 months. Misinformation is the only information. Distrust is the only behaviour.

It’s horrible. And it has split the community apart.

When it comes to vaccines, I’ve mostly had a live and let live attitude — I never cared about someone’s mumps vaccination status, so I don’t know if I really care about someone’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

I care about two things:

  1. The type and quality of information a person shares and disseminates.
  2. Whether people are willing to live with the consequences of their decisions.

For number one, misinformation lights a fire of fury in my heart.

For number two, I believe it’s a loud minority of people who are angry about Charter violations. There may be Charter violations! I don’t know. I’m going to let the lawyers decide.

If you decide to remain unvaccinated, there is a current privilege vacuum. This vacuum won’t always exist. But we can’t pretend that “we fought and died for these freedoms” (we didn’t; the Charter was introduced in 1982, almost 40 years after WWII and bearing little to no connection to the deaths of those in either World War. Even the Canadian Bill of Rights was only created in 1960.). Nor can we pretend that our rights extend beyond all extenuating circumstances.

I have little interest in “taking sides”. I have more important things to spend my brainpower on each day.

Inevitably though, it feels as though there’s some finger-pointing going on. Some groups of people have huge anxiety and worry about the rate of testing, especially for kids. We’ve had a lot of people asking us to retrace our steps in the last week, and it hasn’t been only public health officers. Others have this attitude that they can roam around everyday life, completely symptomatic, and live their lives as though they aren’t a threat to everyone around them.

People need to work. People also need to stay home when they’re sick.

I’m quite concerned about the other side of this 10-day isolation. Will my family be treated as deviants? Will we be looked at with some scorn? Our positive tests have uprooted a ton of routines this week. It’s been heartbreaking hearing about the ramifications of one single positive COVID test.

This entire saga has been very difficult to navigate.

None of this was in our control. We’ve followed the rules as closely as we could. The virus came into our house by way of a young child who has had cold and flu symptoms once every six weeks. It was normal. Until it wasn’t.

I imagine it won’t be in anyone else’s control either. The virus is only getting started for this winter season. This region in particular is in for it. Perhaps the country as a whole is in for it.

Many, many more double-vaccinated folks are going to be hit with the virus. Many folks are going to be hit much worse than our family has been hit. Some folks will face their fate.

Throughout all these processes, the only thing we can control is the amount of grace we give to those who contract the virus, to those who spread the virus, to those who are providing support to those with the virus, and to those who must make decisions about the virus.

So from one side, I am asking for grace. From the other side, I am asking for grace. My family isn’t the first to go through this virus, and I know we won’t be the last. In all likelihood, this virus will hit every household in the world by the time we’re fully rid of it.

I feel it’s time we normalized COVID. It’s time we get past whether someone has contracted it, spread it, has opinions about it, died from it, or overcome it with nary but a cough. It’s time we put our political opinions aside. It’s time we accepted the consequences of our decisions. It’s time we let others make their own decisions. It’s time we stopped thinking everyone is inferior for making a decision you wouldn’t make.

It’s time to spread some grace. Live and let live, a little.