“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
The last several weeks have been difficult. With far too much time on our hands right now, it can be tough to keep our spirits afloat, surrounded by so much unknown and challenging news, isolated in our homes.
But I collect heroes. In times like ours, I turn to them for a bit of courage.
When I need additional inspiration, I often think of generations past. I think of the bombing of London during World War II, where the population found the courage to endure nights spent in subway tunnels with little to eat and bombs dropping from the air. I think of the courage on display in the Rosie the Riveter poster. I’m inspired by women like Irena Sendler, the Polish Resistance fighter who saved more than 2,500 children from the Nazis. She was caught and tortured, her legs broken, but survived by escaping on the day of her scheduled execution. I think of the police and firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center and sacrificed themselves to save others.
Right now, we have a lot of heroes to admire, like the doctors and nurses, the techs and cleaning staff in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Suddenly we realize the people who are preparing food and stocking grocery store shelves are essential. Sometimes heroism is just doing your job under the most difficult of circumstances.
Most of us never have to display our courage publicly. We typically have the tremendous good fortune of quiet times, of business as usual. Then, an event like the Covid-19 pandemic puts us to the test. On the other side of all this is a new opportunity to rise again to the challenges of democracy and to rebuild our economy. It is going to require a great deal of courage, determination, and a lot of backbone in the face of some serious obstacles. But rebuild we can and will do, as long as we keep our courage and our wits in good order.
Stay strong friends. We all have many fine examples of courage to emulate. You yourself are the product of some 50,000 years of human development and 4 billion years of planetary history. You and your ancestors are survivors. What we are experiencing now is just one more stumble in that same long process, but we have stumbled before and moved forward. We will do it again.
Hang in there, stay safe, and when the time is right, we will travel again.
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