wisdom through adversity

You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.

Michelle Obama, via brainyquote.com

Adversity has always strengthened those who learn from it. Fear accompanies it, but for those who shape rather than succumb to emotion, they help themselves and their community. A pandemic is a perilous time for the victims of an unchecked disease, but for others not as yet infected, there remain actions and thoughts we can control. Panic is preceded by rumor, absence of information, and perceived lack of planning from those whom we have entrusted governance. In the first days that the COVID-19 virus appeared in places where no one ill had recently traveled to Asia, panic lead to emptying store shelves across the country. While we have been focused on terrorism and war abroad for twenty years, it is a microscopic organism that has managed to halt daily activities, reduce “Greenhouse gases” and curb economic activity in much of the world.

Of all the countries unprepared for pandemic, the United States should not have been one. But nations are rarely proactive. For decades, a pandemic and the healthcare emergency it would cause, was not prioritized. Even during the last Administration, the Affordable Care Act addressed cost and insurance but did not consider supply. It was only in the last two years that offshore production of medical equipment, supplies and medicines (that is, China) was considered an issue. And little has improved. This unsophisticated President, personally flawed, and under constant attack at home and abroad, may have been accurate in pressing for a return to domestic industrial production. Problems of this magnitude are not created during the term of one President, but are often the responsibility of the office-holder when disaster strikes. With Congressmen and actors, executives,medical staff and patients in nursing facilities – and now 8,000 people in New York state all testing positive for the virus, vitriole has subsided. Negativity is not beneficial to recovery.

We do not have to be prisoners of our negative thoughts during the coming months. Oliver Wendell Holmes alluded to the prison we make of fear, petty jealousies, and hatred. It becomes every individual’s responsibility to contribute positively to the well-being of others. It is not the time to stoke fears. It is not the time to profit from misery of others. We can make a difference. Take the opportunity to calm an anxious neighbor, worker, or shopper with humor and kindness (while maintaining proper “social distance”!). Learn from adversity. And perhaps, out of a viral epidemic, we can learn to overcome the disease that is marked by hatred, jealousy and fear.

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. via brainyquote.com

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