All of us, regardless of locale or vocation, have recently crossed into a second year living through a pandemic. In this third month specifically, each sunrise brings with it a new anniversary and a flood of memories: the last time you sat in a crowded room, hugged a loved one, felt normal. The first time you wore a mask, worked from home, felt like this would never end.
It’s been a year of everyday firsts and lasts, each one its own tiny tragedy.
Some of us suffered loss beyond the more gentle changes the rest of the world faced in horrified harmony. In addition to the freedom we so recently took for granted, we lost health and companionship and safety and homes and jobs and family. Who among us could feel lucky right now?
Me, that’s who. I do.
And as insolent as it feels to use that word, it’s true. I feel lucky.
Because looking upon this past year and all I grieve, a loved one is not in that reflection. I do not mourn a job I loved or the home I built or the level of safety on the street this skin this color affords me.
Even in what feels like a truly hapless era, I still found fortune.
And, in my relative comfort during this calamitous time, I mined from the depths of my pain enough treasure to spin a tale worthy of recognition. Because what good is luck and fortune if you cannot share it?
And so on this week of unsettling reminiscence and this day of unlimited luck -though there is barely a glimmer of Irish running through my veins- I’ll collect the pots beneath my rainbow, spread some Kerrygold on a slice of soda bread, and share my fortune with others as I look forward to tomorrow. Because, perhaps the greatest treasure I found this past year, is the knowledge that we’re all lucky to make it there at all, no matter what brand of luck it brings.
The fortune I alluded to: an essay I wrote detailing a year of changes during the pandemic has since aired on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station, but a recorded clip and my full essay can be listened to and read here.