In March of 2020, our typical world drastically changed. Streets were almost empty, traffic jams got reduced as workers and students stayed home, and even a roll of toilet paper along with cleaning supplies turned into gold. The reality of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) intrusively took hold of our existence as a world pandemic (as declared by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020) and a national emergency (13 March 2020). With COVID-19 came a wave of severe medical symptoms, the need for triaging patients who might receive further treatment, and ethical/moral decisions that stretched healthcare workers to the max. Uncertainty, fear, doubt, anger, and polarization abounded. Confirmed cases and deaths increased daily, and every new variant left us wondering about the future. At times, it seemed endless, with no practical resolution on sight.
To all these experiences, we add the challenges to mental health connected to isolation, social distancing, and masking. The experience of being away from our families during meaningful times and celebrations affected our core beliefs. Some experienced financial struggles as income declined, small businesses closed, and jobs changed value. A reidentification of spiritual toughness and connectedness became an implicit requirement to reengage with life. Creativity and intentionality turned out as the highest commodities to adaptation and resilient living.
As we come to this point in the “new normal” journey, take time to stop, go over the experiences lived through these two years of the pandemic, be thankful, and identify lessons learned about self, significant relationships, and values. We have grown in multiple areas and through challenging environments.
Above all, we have kept our hope alive.