“No matter how bad a situation, you have to ask yourself, ‘What do I do now?’” – Bob Howard, Medal of Honor Recipient
As we enter a new phase of the current crisis, our concerns continue to grow. While we adapt to new routines, the future remains uncertain. There’s no part of our lives that aren’t impacted by the virus.
The internet has become of source of both connectivity and divisiveness. We’ve watched videos of generations using webcams and software to close the “social distancing” gap. People offering suggestions and humor to cope with the boredom and exasperation. Others expressing their concerns and frustration, which have unintended consequences of provoking backlash and arguments.
“Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of intelligence.”
The current crisis has revealed the worst and best of human nature. The number of internet scams and criminals trying to take advantage of people’s fears is disheartening. Just as unfortunate is the number of people unknowingly spreading misinformation through social media.
There are also stories of ordinary people demonstrating the power of goodness. Friends organizing trips to the store for senior citizens. Teachers using innovation and technology to deliver lessons to homebound students. Parents finding ways to provide stability in uncertain times.
Then there’s the professional caregivers – the doctors and nurses on the front lines. Being separated from their families and love ones during extra shifts and rotations. Putting their lives at risk to save others and prevent this disease from spreading. We owe them an unpayable debt.
“Give me a place to stand on and I can move the Earth.” – Archimedes
Once upon a time, I was young and strong.
Throughout high school, and part of college, I worked summers as a landscaper. My boss loved to give me the hardest jobs, because he knew I wanted to be challenged. Dig a hole 6 feet by six feet by six feet – with only a shovel and pickax. Move truckloads of wood mulch with a wheelbarrow. Rip out a tree stump without any power tools.
Reading and Books,
“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” – Plato
It had been a long day. My brain was tired, and my body exhausted. I knew there were still 90 miles left to drive, but traffic was moving along, and I might make it home in less than 90 minutes.
Until everything came to a dead stop.
As we inched along, I started to think about alternate routes. I calculated that the “best” substitute was at least an hour longer. An alert on my GPS device estimated that the traffic on the current road was delayed about 45 minutes. So, I continued forward.
No good alternatives to a bad situation. Or were there?
“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin
One of my favorite memories from childhood is the time we spent at Hampton Beach each summer. My father’s cousin let us use their house for one week each August. A house on Ocean Boulevard – directly across the street from the beach.
Our days would revolve around the tides. Low tides meant running for what seemed like miles to get to the water. As the tide rolled in, we’d retreat and retreat, eventually abandoning the beach to watch the waves crash against the wall from the safety of the sidewalk.
I love mornings. Waking up right before the dawn. Listening to the sounds of the world awakening. Hearing the songbirds announce the first moments of light.
I ease into my daily rituals. A quick check of email. Look over my latest writing project. Roll the kinks out of my legs. Pick out a route for that morning’s run.
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” - Joseph Campbell
Even the optimists and positivists admit that sometimes, life is tough. That’s okay – because you’re tough too.
You’ll be tested. There will be times when your body, your mind and your spirit may fail. Moments when you don’t meet the mark. Feelings of defeat and despair replace your optimism.
Those moments will pass. You’ll regain the energy needed to overcome the challenges in front of you. You’ll find the force necessary to recover and start anew. The energy and the force lie within, waiting to be rediscovered.
You will triumph.
You’re stronger than you think.
"Of all the passions, fear weakens judgment most." - Jean-Francois-Paul de Gondi
Fear is often misunderstood, and is thought of only in extremes. People with no fear may be described as courageous or foolhardy. Those who admit to being afraid are called cautious or cowards.
In many cases, fear is the best response to a situation. We feel some apprehension before trying something new, especially if there’s risk involved. That’s good, as we’ll be more aware of potential dangers, and be cautious as we move forward. Yet we do move forward.
The challenge arises when fear paralyzes us. Our minds are seized with anxiety, and we can’t move – figuratively and literally. The potential dangers appear overwhelming, the risks too great, and the rewards minimal. We look for whatever we perceive is the safest route.
Before starting down the “safe” route, we should question our motives. Are we basing our decision on what is prudent, or what is easy? Is the threat real, or only perceived? Are we avoiding injury, or avoiding discomfort?
Difficult questions, and our heightened emotions may confuse the situation. Unlike facts, there’s no absolute “right” or “wrong”. We may reach out to others for opinions and suggestions, but the final decision is personal.
However, the questions - and our answers - will bring strength, resolve and acceptance.