One of my favorite quotes, by Henry David Thoreau, is:
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
Although it’s natural to be concerned about the near-term financial impact from current events, Thoreau’s quote assumes more significance and relevance at this time. It has long been my belief that it’s not ultimately monetary riches, but the richness of life itself that is most meaningful. It’s memories and experiences with friends, family and those we love, and appreciating all the things that money itself can’t buy. Sometimes it takes tragic events to remind us that life is precious, and to better appreciate the countless gifts and blessings we all share. There is so much to be thankful for in that regard. Many families are currently spending additional time together, having meaningful discussions and conversations, and affirming their love and support. This is but one of many examples of what true wealth is all about. But with schools and businesses closing, sports and other events indefinitely or permanently postponed, and concerns about our health and overall well-being, life as we’ve previously become accustomed to is far from routine. Experiencing life fully is understandably difficult.
My niece, a senior at Kent State University, frequently emphasizes the importance of “seeing the good.” She is arguably wiser beyond her years. In the midst of such uncertainty, it may seem difficult to “see the good” but if we look carefully there is so much good to see. It can be seen amongst our health care personnel and first responders who are working tirelessly to care for and treat those in need. It can be seen amongst neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends, and strangers helping strangers in kind, innovative, and generous ways. It can be seen with people and communities coming together in a united front against a common enemy that makes no distinction between race, gender, country, or political affiliation.
In times of crisis, America has always risen to the occasion and emerged even better and stronger afterwards. Whether the challenges were wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters or other calamities, America’s spirit and resolve endures and continues to be one of her greatest strengths. Such spirit and resolve will similarly enable us to overcome the COVID-19 global health pandemic. Although the ultimate severity of the financial and economic repercussions in the near-term remain unknown, what is known is that the duration of the Coronavirus itself is finite. This, too, shall pass.
It’s an understatement that we are all looking forward to the “time beyond the time of the Coronavirus.” Like the blooms and blossoms of Spring following a brutal winter, life will emerge for us to fully experience and appreciate again - perhaps in new and profound ways. It will be even more beautiful and wonderful than before. See the good.