We are all tested throughout life.
Perhaps a test occurred when a parent died or a medical doctor announced a diagnosis of cancer.
Maybe it was news of a serious automobile accident, or injury to a dear friend, a loved one, or child.
No matter where we live or what we believe, difficulties occur. Crisis situations arise in which we have no control. We have no power to change the outcome.
In America, we’ve faced adversities before, and not too long ago. Throughout centuries, our country has survived a host of issues, viral scares and epidemics. To name a few:
Polio (first epidemic started in Vermont in 1894);
Small Pox (history shows evidence of the virus during the Egyptian Empire; however, in the U.S., records document the 1700s);
Influenza pandemic of 1918;
Throat Distemper, (now called diphtheria) 1700s;
Ebola virus, ( 2014-2016);
Swine flu pandemic (2009-2010); and many more.
As we look back to earlier years, before penicillin and antibiotics were invented, diseases and viruses such as pneumonia, chicken pox, measles and mumps were serious threats that quickly spread through communities where everyone was a likely candidate for the sickness, or possible death.
Today, it is relevant for us to remember the pain and suffering of earlier pandemics. Covid19 is not the only crisis to disrupt lives and wreak havoc on society. Those past incidents also showcase our strong human spirit of resiliency and irrepressible strength as well. That ‘we will get through this, no matter what’ spirit.
Looking back offers insight as to how people faced adversity.
Some react in humor. Others over-react with panic. Many turn to prayer and faith. Some embrace bad behavior, alcohol or drugs. Some reach out and take action.
Then, there are those who refuse to take catastrophic news seriously. The doubters. Oft-times those espousing a lighthearted focus are viewed disrespectful and irreverent.
Different perspectives, different reactions.
Whether or not the coronavirus is as deadly, as threatening as the national news has led us to believe, it’s difficult to say. But time will reveal the truth as the upcoming weeks give a clearer picture of what lies ahead.
Right now, uncertainty is the theme and for the average American, it is hard to discern truth, as political grandstanding continues to exist, and there are many unknowns. So, taking precautionary measures is the wise thing to do.
One certainty remains, however, –– this crisis is having a profound economic impact on communities. Area businesses have already closed down as the threat of widespread illness continues.
Tourist attractions have delayed opening. And, travelers will likely stay home due to the health scare.
In nearby Branson, local hotels and motels have reported cancellations. Motorcoach tours have postponed visits; some have canceled. Silver Dollar City has delayed opening day until the end of March. Dolly Parton’s Stampede has closed temporarily, and many other attractions have embraced the same mindset.
On a national level, Disney Parks are closed through the end of the month, and colleges and universities have suspended classes and closed dormitory facilities.
As we look to the immediate future, outbreak details remain unknown. All the while, it is important to remember many have been impacted by these closures and actions. Service industry workers were unprepared for a one-month delay in pay. So, as good neighbors, we should reach out to those struggling to get by.
In the book entitled, The Road Less Traveled, author M. Scott Peck, M.D. states right up front, in his profound opening line, “Life is difficult.”
Peck’s book was a huge success 25-years ago. Readers embraced his message of understanding and faith. His recommendations emphasized reaching out in empathy toward others.
Peck’s timeless message is still relevant today –– life is difficult. And, helping others is the best remedy for difficult times.
As a society facing this test, we have several options from which to choose:
Fear or Faith
Hype or Hope
Panic or Philanthropy
Which path have you embraced?
Perhaps you’ve already reached out to someone in need? Maybe you’ve provided assistance to a displaced student or unemployed worker?
Former President Jimmy Carter who served in the Oval Office from 1977 to 1981, faced multiple adversities during his term. Issues included the 1979 oil crisis, domestic economic issues, racial segregation, and later in life, a personal cancer diagnosis.
In his wisdom, President Carter is noted as saying:
The experience of democracy is like the experience of life itself –– always changing, infinite in its variety, sometimes turbulent and all the more valuable for having been tested by adversity.
History documents a host of inspiring stories about individuals who have endured and persevered through adverse situations. Individuals who weathered harsh storms, and in the end, found benefit in the challenge. Their life account gives credence to the spirit of resiliency and irrepressible determination –– that unwaivering drive to push through and rise higher in life.
Today our community has a personal responsibility to reduce the viability of the virus and help prevent its spread. As adversity looms, we must also continue to exercise a positive perspective and focus, and strive to meet the needs of others. It’s a delicate partnership.
This challenge serves to build strength and create a foundation of cohesiveness throughout our community. As unwilling participants in this situation, may we each focus on a higher purpose and open our hearts to help others. While at the same time, it is important to maintain a zest and appreciation for life –– throwing in a little laughter and sense of humor.
United as a community, our outlooks must include heartfelt intentions of rising higher and reaching for the positive ending ….. this is an important goal we are all capable of attaining together.