Gratitude, Grace, Grit – All From A Safe Distance

This 4th of July is going to look very different for all of us this year.

No fireworks.

No BBQs with friends and family.

No parades.

None of the usual traditions/celebrations we are so used to seeing across the Nation on this our 244th anniversary of Independence.

For most of us, the growing pandemic has changed the way we do life and work.

I just finished reading a book called The Star and the Shamrock by Jean Grainger. It is based in WWII era Ireland. but it starts in Berlin with a German family’s life getting turned up on its head when the Catholic father is arrested and then killed for standing up against Nazi brutality and the Jewish mom has to send her 2 little kids on one of the last Kindertransport trains to never met before cousins for safekeeping. The story is an uplifting one in spite of the backdrop of Nazi Germany. It is one of empathy, courage, hope and the generosity of people as they embrace refugees into their lives.

I couldn’t help but compare what life in crisis looked like during that time (or for that matter during any war before or since) to our lives in crisis today.

Then: for 6 years people lived with strict emergency protocols for their safety.

Now: 4 months in and we’re struggling to maintain emergency protocols for our safety.

Then: they had to live on severe rations

Now: We caused shortages due to panic buying when this all began.

Then: Families were ripped apart.

Now: Families are sheltered together.

Then: Letters were the only way communicate with those who had been sent away to stay safe; and you didn’t know at that whether or not they’d be received.

Now: We have technology at our fingertips to stay in touch.

Then: If you left home, you risked death

Now: If you leave home (without a mask), you could be putting yourself and others at risk

Then: You were either for the war or against the war

Now: We are all together waging this war against COVID19

Today, on the eve of our country’s independence I hope that we can all come together and make a renewed commitment to love our neighbors and respect everyone’s right to be healthy by wearing a mask when necessary.

A mask is not a symbol.

It’s simply a mechanism by which we can all do our part in fighting this global war against COVID19.

If you have a cool mask, I would love to see it. Send me a picture to with your mask on and we’ll feature them in our Masked Special later this month.

Gratitude, Grit, Grace – All From a Safe Distance

Niki Richardson
Development Director, TOArts