I received the following correspondence recently:

Hello, Mr. Paleologos,

My 85-year old mother is a fan of yours. She listens to WBSM all the time, and it was through her urging I send you this short writing. I was inspired to put pen to paper due to the recent world-changing events upon the arrival of COVID-19. I have always found writing to be therapeutic. Once I capture my feelings and preserve them in written form, I experience a sense of peace and accomplishment. I find searching for just the right words to express myself is rewarding.

Prior to the pandemic, our country was already in a lot of turmoil; and I could not help but acknowledge how the pandemic trivialized the things that had divided us prior to its arrival. It was in that spirit I wrote "COVID-19 – Among the Chaos, a Lesson to Be Learned."

I'm certain there are as many opinions about what has transpired as there are people to express them, but this is my take. I have not shared it with many; but like I said, with mother's urging, I am hesitatingly sending it to someone I don't even know. Mother thinks highly of you, so that's good enough for me.

Stay well and God bless,

Laurie J. Rollins

And here is what Laurie had to say:

COVID-19: Among the Chaos, a Lesson to Be Learned

The citizens of the United States have never been more politically divided than they have been over the past four years to the point of viciousness the likes of which I have never seen before in my lifetime.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic got me thinking about many things, but the one thing that stands out in my mind today is how ironic it is that one of the most effective methods in preventing transmission of this highly-contagious virus is isolation.

Prior to the pandemic, we were a country harshly divided by the beliefs of the political parties we supported. Our political affiliations were pitting friends against friends, neighbors against neighbors and even causing family discord.

Now, in an effort to protect ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors from the clutches of this mysterious virus, we find ourselves alone as we practice social distancing; and in many cases, voluntary isolation.

For those of us who are able, we reach out and help those we can. Our impassioned political affiliations that staunchly divided us have taken a back seat, they are irrelevant and unimportant as we face the frightening reality we are no longer a divided nation; we are alone. Where there was once indignation, now there is loneliness.

How ironic that thus far, the young are low risk, yet the survival of the aged and those with underlying health issues rests in the hands of human beings – not conservatives, liberals, republicans, democrats, independents.

I sense the hand of God, His disappointment in us as human beings who’ve lost sight of compassion, kindness and sensitivity, the very characteristics that define what it is to be human. Instead, He witnessed hatred, anger and divisiveness.

Now, He affords us the opportunity to experience loneliness in the form of social distancing and isolation in an effort to enforce within each and every one of us how important we all are to each other regardless of our differences. He spares the innocence of youth by keeping them low risk, yet He is forcing us to come together to protect the elderly and those with underlying health issues.

There is a lesson to be learned here. I am certain that is God’s plan. It remains to be seen if we shall all walk away from this pandemic better than we were from a lesson learned and united as we are meant to be.

God bless.

Written by Laurie J. Rollins, March 2020

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I find it difficult to find the right words to express my gratitude to Laurie and to Laurie's mother. One of the hardest things to do in life is to let go, because change is never easy. We fight to hold on, and we fight to let go. Thank you, Laurie J. Rollins, for reminding us that sometimes sacrifices like the one we're going through right now can teach us lessons that we didn't think we needed to know.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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