Editor’s Note: This column is the third in an eight-week series on “Let’s Hear It” with thoughts on current trends.
“Come here,” my husband asked gently, pausing at the side door of our garage. We were getting ready to make a short run to town. “See what’s here.” In spring he has a fit about the flies that hang around the east side of the house, and spends much time swatting flies. So I was expecting to see a swarm of flies.
I looked out the door and saw only a beautiful gray mourning dove turning her head, eyeing us, cocking her head from side to side as if to say, “Well, I’m back!”
Mourning doves do migrate south in fall from our part of Virginia and return in March or April. She was right on time, a week before Easter. In the Bible, a dove attended the baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River at the beginning of his three-year ministry on earth. Christians consider the dove to be a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which came to the disciples 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Our dove sat there until we opened the door but I’m sure she will hang around and coo gently from her usual perches on the power line crossing our field, or our front porch. I can usually hear coos as I work in the flower beds and garden. So, I was happy to see the dove instead of the flies — a less-welcome harbinger of spring.
This spring many of us are thrilled to be celebrating that the vaccines, which we hope will bring COVID under control, are more widely available, and to increasing age groups. When my husband and I got our first shots, availability was still rather tight — a month ago — and we’re both in the over-65 age group. So we had to hurry home from a trip to visit my mother in Indiana, in order to get shots after our daughters tag-teamed openings for us. This was at two different CVS pharmacies, about 40 miles apart. Michelle made the application for us online and by the time she tried to get the second reservation, that store had filled all its slots. So she snagged a second location for us.
As I sat in a waiting area for my husband (whose shot came first), I was struck by how those coming to the pharmacy did not appear to be locals. Sure, our communities here are somewhat diverse but not so prevalent in the small town of that pharmacy. I noticed there were Asian, Middle Eastern, African folks in line — some I could tell by the accent. A young woman, about the age of our daughters, had driven her parents — I’m guessing Nepalese or Indian — to this particular CVS from northern Virginia, a distance of about 60 miles. Northern Virginia is very diverse ethnically.
A wave of gratitude, joy, and amazement came over me as I sat there — and slowly a memory came to mind. I was transported back to the early 50s when as a young child I received the small pox vaccination that saved lives in those days. I remembered that shot because the aftereffects on my arm were ugly. It did not heal well and left a big scar for years, although I can’t even see it now.
I teared up as I thought of so many people all around the world lining up for these shots now — filled with hope and prayers for better years ahead as we continue to try and be careful, clean, and conscientious to keep everyone safer. I also thought of many millions of frontline workers who are still serving in dangerous roles taking care of the ill or providing essential services.
May we celebrate Easter with new hope for life and love for our fellow human beings — sharing the love that God demonstrated in this beautiful season.
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