Never in my lifetime have I experienced a pandemic so grave that it almost felt apocalyptic. It’s like something you read about in history books or in the Bible. I mean, who would have ever thought such “pestilence” could show up at our front door and ravage America, a nation that seems so invincible?
I remember 9/11, the last epic tragedy that grieved the entire nation. Talk about devastation, sorrow and fear! Innocent blood poured on American soil, leaving thousands of families to never see their loved ones again. Heart-ripping images from that day are forever etched in my memory. We mourned a long time, some longer than others, but we eventually made it through the crisis and became a stronger nation as a result.
Before eight weeks ago, it was unheard of in my lifetime to close schools, wear face masks outside the home, stock up on toilet paper, and distance myself not just from strangers but also from the people I love. This is NOT normal, and I refuse to accept this way of living as the “new” normal — no, it’s completely abnormal! We were created for “human touch” and connectivity, not to be isolated and forever sheltered.
Whenever I go through a crisis, professional or personal, I usually ask myself this one question, “What can I learn from this?” Asking this question doesn’t make the pain of the crisis go away, but it does help me to process and cope with the reality of my situation. Everyone has their own way of grieving.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing many things about us—the effectiveness of our decision-making, what we have valued, and what truly matters. Crisis has a way of pulling back the cover and revealing what, where and who we really are—whether it’s good or bad. Everything is a learning opportunity if we dare to reflect and ponder.
Here are a few things that COVID-19 is teaching me:
- Hope. The Earth has seen other pandemics in its lifetime. Yet the sun still rises, and humankind still lives. This is why I know we will make it through this crisis.
- Humility. We are not as smart as we think we are. There is always someone smarter. As a nation, America has been brought to its knees by COVID-19. We are not invincible, though we are resilient. This is a reminder that there exists a Power that is eternal and greater than mankind, and that we should always respect and revere that Power.
- Stewardship. The truth is, I have been wasteful. I’ve spent so much money eating expensive food at restaurants instead of cooking at home, paying for cable channels and memberships that I don’t use, paying people for housework that I can do myself, buying clothes that I don’t wear, and the list keeps going. Today, I am a recovering “over-consumer” with lots of room to grow! Less is more. Cutting back my spending on “stuff” makes me cherish and take care of the things I already have.
- Generosity. No matter how bad you might think your situation is, there is always someone else who is worse off than you. While I have cut back on my spending, I have not stopped giving. I may not give as much as I would like, but I give what I can to help others in dire need. The generosity we give to each other is what will help us triumph together in this crisis. There is always something we can do.
- Gratitude. All we have is today. COVID-19 is teaching me to live in the present, not the future. Because the truth is, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. So rather than worry about what will happen in my life in the next week, month or year, I choose to celebrate and be thankful for today. Today, I am healthy, have a roof over my head, a family I love, food in my refrigerator, rolls of toilet paper and Netflix. Life is good!
We will make it through this crisis, and I believe we’ll come out stronger on the other side. What are some things that COVID-19 is teaching you? Please leave a comment below. CLICK HERE to join the tribe and follow me on social media for daily inspirations.
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What I\’ ve Learned from the COVID 19 crisis personally and professionally to date
1. Effective Leadership at all levels is essential to maintaining safety, saving lives, sustaining our quality of life, and to ensure the effectiveness of measures initiated to mitigate this current crisis and others; moreover, real leaders are not silent but consistently visible throughout the crisis
2. Ecosystems are far more interconnected than was earlier realized; this fact must be intertwined into our everyday walk of life
3. Our communities are far less resilient to mitigate and cope with extreme shocks and stresses than was earlier revealed in numerous ways
4. Science is paramount and key in the coping, mitigation and resolution of the current crisis and must be respected throughout
5. Technology is the essential backbone of how we function; communication and internet are the lifeblood of our existence; bringing critical information to communities that need it most and also contributes to our ability to cope
6. Vulnerable and marginalized populations will bear the burdens of any negative shock at all levels and will suffer the worst outcomes
7. Maintenance and vibrancy of economic systems are valued far more than human systems that maintain minimal quality of life standards
8. Friendship, Kindness couples with a sense of hope are Essential to the Soul and can dictate our very ability to cope and survive
9. Stewardship of our planet and its resources is critical to our future survival and maintenance of our quality of life; we must treat climate change in the same manner and with a similar sense of urgency
10. Good health is the key to coping with the crisis and to preclude underlying condition that makes us vulnerable to loss of life and other negative outcomes
11. Human behavior is both selfish and self-centered toward our own small goals; making measures designed to mitigate impacts far less effective; we must be mindful of this in all we do, to both act and think for the greater good
12. Self-care and self-love are essential tools of preparation as these work collectively to ensure significant mental, physical and spiritual toughness to cope
13. Timely and Action-oriented behavior is critical to save lives and maintain the quality of life at all levels
14. Maintaining our aim, purpose and striving to be what God wants us to be is essential and should be acted upon on a daily basis with a sense of urgency; minimizing distractions; it is our life force
15. Life is not guaranteed, we must maximize every day of our existence to benefit not only ourselves but all of humankind; we must work also to minimize risk in all we do.
16. Action at the community level should not be based on the government nor local agencies to maintain and set priorities; we must ensure equity and justice are at the center of all we do.
17. Trust in our leadership authorities is essential; therefore we must ensure such persons are placed in critical positions
18. Periods of the crisis must be leveraged into periods of transformation for significant longer-term outcomes
19. Wastefulness created through our behavior and lifestyles play a critical role in the strength of our ecosystems, the abilities of communities to cope, and the resilience of all the earth\’ s system and the fair and equitable distribution of resources for all; we must adjust and balance accordingly
20. God has an intended purpose for us; above all, we must respect that all have been both created and sustained by him ( awe); there at the core of all we do must be genuine compassion for the Care of Creation; we must embrace sustainability; we must have a genuine commitment for this in all we do
Great words of encouragement.
Thanks for your comment, Stephen.