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Finding hope from multiple sources

For many in the Christian faith, this weekend serves as a reminder of the hope that exists in the world and the idea that all things are possible.

Along with the natural blooming of spring, it is a time of joy, celebration and rebirth.

There, of course, are other parallels to be drawn from this year’s observance, as the world begins to crawl its way out of the COVID pandemic, vaccines are becoming more readily available in many countries and the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter.

On Friday morning, I scheduled an appointment for my first dose of a COVID vaccine. As I’m writing this, there is a mixture of thoughts and emotions running through me: excitement, relief and fear seem to be near the top.

The excitement and relief come from the idea that this could bring me one step closer to being able to do a lot of the things which used to seem normal. I’ll admit I’ve been more apprehensive than usual this last year about being around large crowds of people. I have some social anxiety issues to begin with, so the additional fear of the potential viral spread compounded everything.

Attending Weirton Council meetings was interesting there for a few months, even with them moving to the Millsop Community Center to compensate for larger crowds and attempt social distancing.

The fear is more not knowing how I will physically react to the vaccine. I’ve seen people have no reaction to the first dose, or just very minor issues. With the second dose, I’ve seen people who have had no problems, and those who have been pretty much knocked out for a full day after.

Also, I really don’t like needles or the idea of someone intentionally sticking one in my arm. I used to give blood regularly, and would always look away during the process. Meanwhile, I have friends and colleagues receiving the vaccine and posting pictures on social media of them grinning as they’re getting poked.

When I was scheduling my appointment, I was tempted to ask if I should bring something to bite down on.

I know getting this vaccine out there won’t completely rid the world of COVID-19. Variations already have popped up, and probably will continue to do so. That’s what viruses do. They spread, we adapt, they adapt. At some point, though, while the virus still exists in the world, its effects are not as bad as when infections began. There is a coexistence which allows us to go in with our lives.

It’s happened numerous times in our history. We find the hope we need, look for ways to address the issue at hand and move forward. It’s not about politics or nationalities. It’s about humanity.

The states in our region of the U.S. are finding their footing as the vaccines become more available and distribution channels open up. If they haven’t already made vaccines available for those 16 and up, there is a schedule as to when that can happen.

We’re all looking forward to the summer months, with outdoor activities and community events on the horizon. There are gatherings of family and friends we want to have. Time we’ve missed with loved ones.

But now, as many of us spend time this weekend thinking of the message of hope provided by the Resurrection of Jesus, maybe we’re also seeing another kind of hope, and that, too, will help us to look toward the future.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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