In order to address freedom, we must first acknowledge those things that have us in bondage. Obviously, the pandemic is the big flashing red light of global bondage that has touched us all.
Whether you are no longer free to physically go out to dinner, to a movie or simply to visit with friends and loved ones. Or maybe you are suffering from a feeling of being suffocated by the masks you are having to wear all day or feeling jailed by quarantining yourself by obligation from close contact with COVID. Or maybe you are simply held in bondage by fear itself.
The ripple effects of all the items listed above could go on through infinity. Imagine the long-term effects this virus will have and its wave of destruction on the generation of students held from school or who missed out on some of what was supposed to be their most memorable lifecycles. For example, graduation, prom, state championships, weddings, b’nai mitzvah and so much more.
What about our elders and the isolation they have suffered, the friends they have lost, or the sacrifice of inappropriate physical activity by having to remain in their room?
The ripple of long-term effects includes resentment, depression, fear, loneliness, and many other severe deep-rooted emotional, physical and psychological disorders that will touch everyone’s lives, whether it is ourselves who are suffering or a loved one close to us.
When considering this, it certainly comes across as doom and gloom and that can hold an entire community in bondage by fear alone. Which finally brings me back to needing to identify all ripples and their far-reaching effects that they will have on us as individuals, as well as the larger picture, including our very own community.
Freedom will start with everyone being vaccinated and the world being set free from the bondage that the COVID-19 pandemic has held us in. But that only scratches the surface of what freedom looks like to me.
Real freedom is going to look like our community breaking free from the long-term effects of these ripples of destruction. We need to address the psychological needs of our teens, elders and even ourselves.
Freedom will include not only stopping the ripples of destruction but repairing the damage from its wake. Freedom looks like support groups, chat sessions and educating everyone on the long-term effects that we may not be aware are brewing under the surface. But also, information and assistance to address the internal wake we may all be experiencing in one way or another. Freedom looks like a community supporting each other and joining together to heal.
Kaylene Ladinsky is the editor and managing publisher at the AJT.