This is the second in a series of meditations while I am at home during the COVID-19 crisis.
These are dark times and many people are physically and mentally exhausted from worry and pain. I've been at home for about five weeks now. I've been keeping busy but the five weeks have gone by at a snail's pace.. Sometimes I feel like I've been in isolation for five years. Sometimes life before the virus seems so distant, as if it's a dreamy past life that feels further and further away. Everything is surreal. There is so much human suffering and so many lives have been disrupted. We have seen humanity at its worst and humanity at its best. Thank goodness for our health care workers who are underpaid and overworked. They are the salt of the earth and they continue to put their lives on the line every day.
Unfortunately, there is a dearth of strong leadership in the world, with some notable exceptions such Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Jacinda Adern of New Zealand. If only there was a Franklin Roosevelt or a Winston Churchill to help us get through these tough times. Alas, the United States has Donald Trump and the United Kingdom has Boris Johnson. Sadly, some selfish and irresponsible politicians, such as Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, are encouraging people to relax social distancing measures. They want to reopen businesses again, no matter the consequences and the risk to human lives. For them, it's all about money. The sick and elderly are not as important as the economy. They are not as important as getting Trump re-elected.
This mentality is reflected in the words of disgraced former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly who said, "Many people are dying, both here and around the world were on their last legs anyway, and I don't want to sound callous about that." Really, Mr. O'Reilly? Well, you could have fooled me.
Fortunately, the words of great leaders live on, as do comforting quotations during this terrible pandemic of 2020. Here are some words that I hope with help to get you through this extremely challenging time. As difficult as this is, we must carry on. We must endure. We must triumph.
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
First Inaugural Address"
March 4, 1933
"We must accept finite disappointments but we must never lose infinite hope."
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American civil rights leader
From Strength to Love, published in 1963
"I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars."
- Augustine "Og" Mandino (1923-1996), American author
From The Greatest Salesman in the World, Chapter 9, "The Scroll Marked II,"published in 1968