I would like to share my perspective as we roll past month two of this pandemic. I’ve read a lot of commentaries and interpretations of what’s occurring in our culture and our society. We’ve all done our best to frame it in such a way that it makes sense. It is our human nature to define, solve, and make a determination about issues in our life. You know what? The world does not always answer my questions. For someone like me, who is driven and likes to be in charge, learning how to live in the moment is hard. Then to be faced with the idea that my life will not always make sense or return to my same routine is even harder.
I want to share my thoughts about what is important, and find hope amongst all the commotion. I want to talk about living in the moment with our future, both short and long term, totally up in the air. I have to ask myself the question, “Do I need all of my questions answered to navigate the moment, live a joyful life, and still have my eyes on the future?” The answer depends in me.
We are starting to see the truth from the warnings we heard a month or two ago. A few voices were saying, ‘protect everyone inside senior living is super important, the long term fallout could be more devastating than the virus’. The newly instituted policies restricting families from seeing their loved ones, may have the biggest . Most of us agree that’s been a good thing and even though there is real concern about the spread of the virus inside our senior living communities, those strict protective measures have saved countless lives from exposure to the virus thus far. Those few voices were saying to those listening; taking hope from our seniors and isolating them from their families for extended periods will cause a negative ripple. We can now see this has become a harsh reality. People are dying not only from the virus but the effects of hopelessness caused by their isolation. This happens to us when we lose hope. Without hope, without a vision for the future, hopelessness can and will, eventually extinguish a person’s life. I want my life to be full and rich moving forward despite COVID.
I’ve been struck over the last several weeks at how deeply grateful I am. When I’ve been in the worst parts of my life, people who have perspective and wisdom, have talked to me about learning to live in the moment and to cultivate gratitude. It’s easy to look backward and grieve and it’s easy to look at the current situation, react to it and lose hope. In the midst of all that’s going on right now, in my quiet time in the morning, I am finding myself choked up with gratitude. That ‘state of mind’ frees me to hope. I feel inspired to plan for the future. The place of gratitude inspires me to a healthy determination, set goals for the future, and to invest myself into the most important people in my life right. It inspires me to want to do those random, quiet acts of kindness. The things we do in private, only the closest people to you know what you’re doing. It’s OK to be hopeful in the middle of a pandemic. Helping others, it’s my only way to be, assisting those, unable to connect to their loved ones. I want to live this month in the moment with my eyes open wide, and looking forward. Grateful and hopeful. In that, I know my joy can sprout and flourish. I know I can find my way.
The crisis of the pandemic may wane over the next several weeks. The virus is here and it will be with us. There’s no arguing that. I am imploring our senior living partners to embrace greater permanent measures of infection control policy to protect their residents, staff, and guests. Overreacting, overprotecting, and living in fear only perpetuates and deepens the cycle of hopelessness. Please begin developing plans to reopen your communities to families to inject life and hope back into your communities. Just as we must look forward with hope – our seniors have to touch and hug their reasons for going on as well. Help cultivate gratitude in your communities among your staff and your residents. Fear should not run the show and diminish hope. We are going to be stronger. We will find our way; in our direction, in our own time. Hope will be on our side, we just need to believe.
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