Every day during this pandemic, we are creating stories we will tell our friends, children, and grandchildren. Will these be memories of how we survived and gutted it out, or will we tell stories of resilience, courage, compassion, and caring for others? People living alone feel isolated, and families with children, including those with returning college students, are stretched and strained to the breaking point. Family bonding, at this time, may be overrated, especially when you have teens and young adults at home who are used to running, working, or living outside the home. The overlay of Covid-19 can produce a potentially explosive pressure-cooker atmosphere at home. We must approach this challenge with patience and purpose to diffuse this pressure while acknowledging a new reality.
Will we be able to find a mission or meaning in this apocalyptic event? Although clearly a very different menace than a virus, holocaust survivors found reasons to survive, as described by Victor Frankl in his book – Man’s Search for Meaning? This pandemic will change us. How we change is up to us. Can we use this time to surface our latent strengths and capabilities that may be more important than online courses our children and college students take? We have a uniquely human quality to decide how we want to think about our lives and our situation. We get to determine how we can live with purpose and find the value in the worst of circumstances. We live “as if.” We can live “as if” we are helpless victims of an unseen enemy monitoring the rising death tolls and waiting for the proverbial next shoe to fall. Or we can refuse to be victims, embrace hope, and believe we have the power to protect ourselves as well as our family members and friends.
Will we be able to tell our friends and families how we not only survived the pandemic but became better human beings. The odds are against us because we are so used to privacy, freedom of movement, and a level of financial security that have been compromised by this virus. Avoiding physical contact and stay six feet from others doesn’t work when you live in one household, but allowing for some privacy and personal space is as critical as showing support for one another. We can fight the virus by staying safe, staying well, and staying in homes that afford members love and space. Will we dig deep and create stories of finding new ways to appreciate each other, to listen better, to apologize, forgive and love more? Can we tap into the values of idealism and altruism that we know exist with youth? At the end of the day, when asked about this pandemic, will we be able to say how we became better people, better communities, and a better world. We can do it.