I lived in Hawaii for 10 years. Four of those years were on the Big Island, home to Kilauea Volcano. I had the incredible opportunity to stand on the edge of a lava field and watch molten lava flow from deep inside the earth. For some communities, the lava flow was destructive and devastating. At the same time, the flow of lava created new earth. The size of the Big Island has continued to grow and grow. One of the things I found delight in were the ferns that grew up through the cracks in the lava fields. Signs of life– beautiful green– in the midst of the blackness. Life prevails!
In these exceedingly difficult times related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is gratifying when we can discover opportunities to embrace life fully, to love more deeply and to rise to the challenges we are facing in ways we never thought we could. Each day, even in spite of dire news, there are bright spots that bring hope in the resilience and courage of humanity that is being demonstrated. Ordinary individuals have moved quickly through despair to acceptance, they have persevered through unimaginable challenges and they have acknowledged the importance of remaining connected to their families and communities that give them the strength for acceptance and perseverance.
While the orders of magnitude of COVID-19 wreckage are many times the impact that some natural disasters have inflicted on people and communities (to date), I am reminded of a piece I posted four years ago about The Transcendent Lessons of Hurricanes. We can choose to view difficulties as opportunities to grow and learn.
Acceptance. First, we must accept what we cannot control. As I wrote then, “When we truly accept that there are some things we cannot control, it helps us to move past the stage of complaining, anger, and frustration to a healthier state where we can begin to assess our situation, troubleshoot, and take positive action. We each have a choice, moment by moment, of how to respond to a situation that is not one of our choosing. We all have that power within, and when we draw on that power we recognize what is truly one of the few things we can control—our attitude.” We certainly cannot control COVID-19, but we can control our mindset about it which then informs how we respond to the situation we are dealing with.
Perseverance. To the scientists who are working on vaccines for COVID-19. To the doctors and nurses who get up each day and don their PPE knowing that they are putting themselves on the front lines to save lives. To the non-profit workers who are going above and beyond to serve those in need. To the teachers who have had to learn entirely new ways to deliver instruction. We have so much to be grateful for as these individuals demonstrate unusual levels of perseverance and grit in response to the sudden and massive changes our country is facing during this pandemic. Perhaps this is an opportunity to “find purpose in and passion for” the opportunity to rise up creatively in response to this virus. Our perseverance will be key to developing greater resilience as well as to our recovery in the months ahead.
Connectedness. Following a natural disaster, we are always inspired by those communities who pull together to rebuild–both physically and emotionally. In the wake of COVID-19, when government stay-at-home orders and social-distancing is necessary to save lives, we realize just how much we thrive when connected to our families and our community. This is an opportunity to remind others how much they mean to us, to tell our family and friends that we love them and that our lives are made better because they are a part of it. It is a time to celebrate those organizations and institutions that are important to us. As a small school, one of Roycemore’s strengths is our size. Our community is special. We know each other well. We can appreciate each other’s perspectives and talents. I hope we will find opportunities during these isolating times, to reach out– to make sure we are a little less isolated and to spread Griffinity far and wide!
We accept, we persevere, and we connect. And in the midst of everything going on around us, we grow. In the “lava field of COVID-19,” here’s to life, to love, and to growth for us all!