Editorial: The pillow, the bedpost and the nightstand
By Richard Gaw
On occasion, there is a moment of sleep that leaves us all lost in that purgatory moment halfway between a dream and a reality, when a small sliver of unknowingness leaves us floating and untethered, searching for those objects that are most assuredly and unquestionably there, because they just have to be.
The pillow; the bedpost; the book on the nightstand; anything of a familiar shape and texture will do, because in this moment, we don’t know who we are nor where we are, and if we can just hold onto something, we can at least accept that we are fairly close to being truly awake again.
For the last month, nearly to the day, we have all been living in this same purgatory moment, clinging to found items like they are heirlooms, talismans and shrines, as if for assurance. Our nightmare and our reality, however, is that we have not been half asleep. The truth is that we have been fully awake, powerless to retain the muscle memory that tugs us to what we have known and been told is faith and hope and promise. All of it just seems so futile against the unwavering bombast of images, warnings, closures, orders, updates, dispatches, quarantines, cases and yes, deaths.
We are being attacked by a silent enemy not even the most powerful can see, and yet, in all of this madness and fear, the Chester County Press has become a repository of faith, hope and promise that is coming from our entire community. Over the last few weeks, we have been deluged with stories about Chester County residents who have approached this invisible monster armed with resources and a determination, and what we have read and written about has simply held us in awe and rendered us speechless.
A mother and her two young daughters have made 169 protective scarves for Doctors Without Borders and a local food pantry.
A local Chinese-American community has been doing the same.
Our local hospitals have been besieged with contributions of medical supplies by residents from all over the county.
Thanks to the work of our many chambers of commerce, businesses who would normally have to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to keep their doors open.
A local business has created an online source for the community to purchase gift certificates to small businesses.
A local shoe manufacturing company has made donations of footwear for medical professionals.
Several organizations have locked arms in partnership to create a food drop-off site.
A former veteran running for local office is driving door to door with his campaign team to pick up non-perishable food items from donors and dropping them off at food pantries for distribution to needy families.
Like children’s letters to Santa, these stories – your stories – continue to pour into the Chester County Press every week, and we believe it is both our duty and our honor to share all of them with you in print, on our website and on our social media, for the duration of this pandemic.
What we have been learning over the past month is that by virtue of our actions against the rising tide of a pandemic, we have begun to grasp for other known things in the night. There, beside the pillow and the bedpost and the nightstand, rests our most precious possessions – Compassion, Empathy and Love.
They’ve been there all along. They are there for all of us, and they will continue to be.