This year, the Christmas / New Year holiday season is unlike any other, and caps off a year that has certainly been unlike any other for most of the world.
There have been moments this year that have overwhelmed us all, and many times I have wondered if we as fragile humans have enough resilience to sustain all that we have had to endure. However, there have been many examples of beacons of hope that have helped support us along the journey.
In particular, I found the Duchess of Cambridge’s Hold Still National Portrait Gallery project, exceptionally moving. www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/
100 portraits were chosen from 31,000 photographs taken of helpers, heroes and acts of kindness. Portraits were submitted by ordinary citizens from the United Kingdom (UK) during their May – June lockdown period. The images show how the UK experienced humour, grief, creativity and kindness, great tragedy, and real hope. At a time when we could not be together, the Hold Still project reflects that what we have endured individually was a collective human experience.
My favourite of the top 100 portraits is Captain Sir Thomas Moore. A decorated veteran who walked the length of his garden 100 times before his 100th Birthday to raise money for National Health Service Charities. Tom, like so many people around the world, and indeed within our Village Community, stepped up and contributed in whatever way he could to our collective efforts to stay safe.
I am deeply and sincerely grateful for all that everyone has done individually and collectively to contribute to the combined efforts to stop the virus. I commend our exceptional Staff to you and feel honoured to be able to work alongside such a dedicated and committed team. During a time when, for many health care workers around the world, work was not a safe place to be, our team has gone above and beyond to keep everyone safe. Our Staff have worn restrictive and uncomfortable protective equipment, stopped working second jobs to dedicate themselves to the Village and consistently stepped up to the challenges, accepted every new task assigned to them with grace and understanding all in the interest of keeping our community safe. It has been a privilege to witness their service this year.
The big lesson I will take from 2020 is patience. Be still and let the good work be done, is a prayer I have repeated to myself many times this year. The virus required us all to surrender the normal and trust that the steps we were being asked to take and the sacrifices we had to make, would be worthwhile. When I compare our Victorian experience to other countries around the world who had similar levels of infection in July, and are now seeing their health services overwhelmed and infection rates continuing to rise, I am so deeply and profoundly grateful that we persevered, and that together, we as Victorians, allowed ourselves to be still and let the good work be done.
Throughout the Christmas season take the time to reflect on the beacon of hope that was provided to us with the birth of a baby so long ago. As we move into a new (and hopefully much better) year, I wish you and your loved ones, many moments of peace among the difficulties we continue to endure, for the connections with family and loved ones even if they can’t be in person, and the comfort and warmth of memories from Christmas’s past. May we move together into 2021 with renewed hope for the future.
Kim Jackson, CEO