I have been waiting for about 2 years for a coffee shop to open around the corner.

They’ll “open” for pickup only for the first time Wednesday.

It’s heartbreaking to think about someone pouring their savings and time into opening up shop only for a global pandemic to hit.

I don’t think we’ve come close to grappling with the lives lost, and we certainly haven’t understood the economic devastation caused by the twin diseases of COVID-19 and an utterly failed government.

It’s Memorial Day in the US. We are supposed to honor and grapple with the sacrifice of soldiers lost at war today. In reality, we celebrate their deaths with cookouts and sales. I can’t help but feel the parallelism in our failures to understand the cost of war and our failures to take seriously this pandemic. The numbers are too large to understand. The costs incalculable. Scale overwhelms and whites out our ability to perceive.

So I think about this coffee shop. It was someone’s dream. It was their big risk that they hoped would define their life. “I have decide to be a coffee shop owner.” Now, through no fault of their own, their grand opening will involve masks, gloves, and paper cups passing quietly across a door frame. Instead of hearing, for the first time, that glorious din of pen to paper, fingers on keys, friends talking, glasses clinking, milk steaming, and the cheery greetings between staff and regulars, they’ll open quietly.

They may not survive long enough to be what they hoped. Neither might we.