It was 1962 and I was in 6th grade. I have vague memories of sitting at the desk in my bedroom completing homework assignments, while my parents were downstairs in the living room watching President John F. Kennedy’s CubanMissile Crisis Speech, in which he announced the implementation of a strict quarantine halting the shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba. I didn’t understand the idea of a quarantine, but I had done the drills in school and knew that there were nuclear missiles aimed at the United States, and we were at the brink of nuclear war; I was scared.
Almost forty years later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in my office beginning the day, when my assistant called and urged me to quickly turn on one of the televisions in the staff area. I remember listening and watching as the news anchors tried to find the words to describe the unfolding tragedy. I also remember calling my son at college and my brother in Chicago. I felt a sense of helplessness. I was also angry and concerned.
Last Thursday, we drove to NJ to babysit the Wolfpups. While there was some limited discussion of the Democratic Party primaries, the news media had now focused on the coronavirus. I had been following the stories, but it wasn’t until we drove past the empty parking lot of the large regional high school near my son’s home, that it really hit home. Through the course of that day I listened as additional seasons and events were cancelled. By Friday the Governor had closed all the schools in the state, and churches were cancelling services not just for this Sunday, but for weeks to come. I was, and am, concerned, frightened and wondering, but i do know this; if there was ever a time we need to demonstrate resilience, it is now.
The events of the past few weeks serve to demonstrate the uncertainty of the times in which we live. They also illustrate the interconnectedness and global configuration of our world. This is an epidemic, and for many, it will feel like life is hopeless. This is where resilience steps in, and considering the following three perspectives may help you be more resilient:
Life Continually Changes – For every beginning, there will be an end, and life will begin again. Respond to the situation with positive and constructive actions. Focus on the positives and be the beacon of light for others. Let others feed from your optimism and faith. Nothing is permanent and this too shall pass. Life will get better.
Recall Your Victories of the Past: Think of the tough times that you have met head on in the past. When initially faced with challenging times, it’s natural to be gripped by fear and self-doubt. Sometimes the obstacles seem impossible to overcome. Take time to think about the past and the struggles and obstacles you have faced and conquered. As you note the victories, you’ll find renewed faith in yourself.
Find the Positives of the Moment: Too often, the raging fires in our lives hijack our attention and we fail to appreciate the little things that are right in front of us. Be cognizant of the bigger picture, but find moments of positivity to refuel your tank. It may be something as simple as the sunrise or sunset, or a quiet moment with your spouse, partner or child. It’s critical to keep the right perspective when the going gets tough. That is where we find our strength.
Remember, it’s difficult to see the moon and stars unless it is dark. It’s human nature to get caught up with the issues that confront us and lose sight of that which inspires us. No matter how terrible life may seem at any single point, there is always the hope of a better tomorrow. Focus on that hope, draw from your inner strength, and be a model of resilience. God bless!