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By Helena Smrcek

(photo credit: Abigail - Unsplash)

There are many things in life that we don’t think about, because they simply are. That is until they are taken away. For one, until the fifth decade of my life, I never really worried about health. Naturally there were things here and there that needed attention, but none of those threatened my allotted number of days on this planet.

Past two years changed my approach to vitality. I cover my face, when necessary, obey the social distancing rules, and keep my sanitizer handy. And yes, I did get my vaccine. I also switched my family doctor to one that actually keeps track of my lifestyle and cheers me on when the scale moves in the right direction. Following her advice, I added more healthy proteins to our diet, and reluctantly cut down on sugar, started to monitor my blood pressure, and take my medication—I’m trying.

Next on my list of things taken for granted is mental health. The millennial generation gets the credit for ringing that bell, making it known loud and clear that it needs to be talked about. Openly. I have had experienced bouts of depression through out my life, as have millions of others. Our fight with this awful virus only added to the struggle. Two anxiety attacks behind me, I am now keenly aware of the importance of keeping myself, and those around me, in check. The simple question of: “How are you?” took on a different meaning for me. I know now, I need to answer it with absolute honesty, and ask for help, when needed.

As part of my self-care program, I have limited my exposure to the news, and controversial discussions, in person and social media. One eventually has to realize that continual arguments and heated explanations lack the power to change someone’s mind. So, I have decided to leave the sceptics behind and chart a new course in this new world.

Yet, I often wonder how we will react as a society, when the full realization of how much we have lost eventually hits us. As much as we like to point our fingers in the direction of our governments, foreign powers, media or conspiracies, it all comes down to our little circle of influence—our families and friends. We owe it to them to be the best version of ourselves, under these difficult circumstances and assure them, that the resilience of the human spirit will win at the end.

I’m amazed at our ability to approach our problems with science and create solutions that are pretty close to the miraculous. We need to celebrate that. Patience is a virtue, as the Word of God wisely points out. Naturally, we all are experiencing pandemic fatigue. Keeping a positive attitude is a struggle, but we can not give in. God is still on His throne, ready and willing to help. His power did not diminish the day our churches closed. I believe that for once, technology brought us closer, bridging the quarantine gaps.

As the days get shorter and the morning chill in the air announces the change of season, let us remember those who left us over the past two years. There will be many empty chairs at the Thanksgiving tables, as families gather once again. Prudence and caution are the norm of the day, and we need to keep vigilant and informed, but also thankful. The simple things of life, like a turkey dinner shared with our loved ones, once taken for granted, is truly a tremendous blessing of God. To have people around us who care for and love us is one of the greatest gifts our Heavenly Father bestowed on us, for the only thing that we will take with us, the day our God calls us home are precisely those relationships, often taken for granted. So, be good to one another, love with an open heart in words, as well as your action.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.