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A good time to take stock of our behaviour during this crisis

Easter weekend is upon us, though it’s certainly not going to feel like that’s the case.

Good Friday is a holiday – and the Monday following Easter weekend is also a holiday for some – though given how many people aren’t working just now, or working from home, it’s not going to be the same as the traditional long weekend.

And other Easter traditions, from large family dinners and egg hunts to church services, are all going by the wayside this year. Outside of the immediate family, gatherings of more than five people are prohibited, which puts the kibosh on many of the activities we’d normally have planned for this weekend.

As has been the case for a few weeks, we’ll find alternative ways to keep in touch with friends and family – technology can be helpful in that regard, but it’s definitely not the same. But staying safe and healthy by staying home, maintaining physical distancing and following the other preventative guidelines will help ensure we’re around to swap stories about the decidedly unorthodox Easter we experienced in the spring of 2020.

Though increasingly secular – more about chocolate and bunnies (and chocolate bunnies) than resurrection – Easter is the preeminent holy day on the Christian calendar. Whether one is observant or not, the weekend is a reminder that we should be focusing on our better natures, a very important goal in these troubling times.

From hoarding items at the grocery store to losing patience with others, there are countless examples of bad behaviour that belie the “we’re all in this together” philosophy most of us are trying to adopt.

We’re all out of our routines, and formerly unthinkable ideas such as standing in line to simply enter a store, rationing and limited choices (most stores are simply closed rather than being less accessible) – a situation akin to our image of Cold War life in the Soviet Union, not our own present-day reality – have some of us one edge.

That, however, doesn’t excuse selfish behaviour, nor the sometimes-seen rudeness directed at employees of those essential businesses that remain open, particularly grocery stores and takeout restaurants: those workers, too, are facing the same tensions in their lives, plus the added stress of being on the frontlines, subjected to the irascible natures of some customers.

We should all heed the advice about walking in another’s shoes. There’s no bypassing the current state of the world – and it literally is a global problem – so it’s best we resign ourselves to it … and do our best.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of people doing just that. In a time of crisis, most of us do rally around each other, presenting our best selves to the public – not as artifice, but as an indication of our true natures.

Selflessness and consideration for others abound. You’ve probably seen examples of neighbourliness and concerted efforts to look after the most vulnerable in the community, whether family, friend or acquaintance.

This area has a long history of volunteerism and community spirit, ideals that are routinely featured in these pages. This week is no exception, as the COVID-19 crisis has seen plenty of residents answer the call. Stories this week show people have been hard at work to counter the shortage of personal protective equipment, putting in countless hours making the likes of masks, caps and gowns for use by health-care workers and other frontline staff.

Such actions are really the predominant theme of our response to this crisis and the sweeping changes it has made to our lives. As we celebrate what is traditionally both a spiritual and family-oriented time, reflecting on the better nature of our angels.

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