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Reflections in Difficult Times

Like you, I’ve had ups and downs during this Covid-19 pandemic: tears, anger, disappointment, fear, grief. I’ve had time to reflect. At the ocean shore after the tide goes out, one sees what is left behind: shells, driftwood, jellyfish. Like these remnants, this pandemic is revealing vulnerabilities: our health care system, our congregate living centers for older adults, our overcrowded prisons and meat packing plants, etc. Our fragility is staring us in the face.

Amidst all this uncertainty, what has kept you going? I reflect on what encourages me. I’ve always been an optimistic realist, trying to balance pragmatism and optimism in equal measure. I have learned the value of persistence. There have been times in my life when I’ve given up too soon. When facing large problems, I slow down, and go step-by-step. This gives me calm and focus. 

The economist, Paul Romer, writes that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. How will we not waste lessons from this pandemic? How can we create opportunities from our challenges? How can we see what is ahead when feeling anxiety and fear? I try to live in the present. When I take a step, then I can see a little further into the future. We do not know if we are stepping in the right direction, but we start out anyway. Let’s try to position ourselves for strength and perseverance. By doing so, together we will treat one another with compassion, be careful in our actions, and move forward with unwavering hope.