A Moment of ‘Pause’

This is Karen's contribution to Moments of Pause. Send us your reflections via resolve@usask.ca!

By Dr. Karen Wood

My career has unfolded as a quest to make a positive difference in this wonderful, messy,
complex and rich world we live in. I’d like to believe that something I was doing, or how I was
doing something, was making a difference.
As I amble through this enforced ‘pause’ that is the result of a pandemic, I find myself feeling
more and more like I am in retreat. Challenged by the act of staying physically separated from
others in my community. Not knowing how to make a difference in this new reality.
Trying to impact the overwhelming rates of intimate partner, sexual, domestic and/or family
violence in a province with some of the highest in the country is daunting. With this pandemic,
the risks have escalated. A woman is in even more danger when she is mandated to isolate in
her home with an abusive partner, as it ensures that she is unable to reach out to her
community, workplace, family and friends – the relationships and connections that give her a
chance for safety, that may even save her life.
I ask, how can we reach out to those who are at risk when we don’t know who or where they
are? To let them know there is a shelter, to support them in making a safety plan, to lend a
caring, non-judgemental ear?
And then I think of all of the people who are reaching out every day, in so many ways – faith
organizations, neighbors, friends. These folks are finding uniquely creative ways to care for
others, to connect.
I pause and I breathe. We have the capacity to connect and doing so may change someone’s
life. My task, my quest, in trying to make a difference in this wonderful, messy, complex and
rich post-COVID world I am living in today, is to not only continue to connect with others
myself, but to engage you and others in finding creative, effective ways to fracture physical
and/or social isolation and let someone know they are not alone.