In 1859 when the novel A Tale of Two Cities was published, Charles Dickens mused on the status quo in his iconic and unparalleled opening lines:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Flash forward 2020. Dickens may have just said these words about our pandemic times when hope mingles with despair, where the positive intertwines with the negative, where darkness mirrors light.
We certainly live in extraordinary and unprecedented times. These require from us extraordinary and unprecedented actions.
As we navigate the uncertain waters of the new normal, may we exercise a little more patience, a little more kindness, a little more love and understanding as we conduct our daily lives.
Faced with adversity, we are called upon to confront challenges. As Steve Goodier contends:
“Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.”
Confronted with a murky and complex reality, we are charged to lead with confidence. As Israelmore Aylvor advises:
“Those who mistrust their own abilities are being too wicked to themselves, discouraging themselves from doing what they should have been excelling in. If you are good at discouraging yourself, you can’t be a good leader because leadership is built on inspiring others to face challenges.”
Living in these trying times is an adventure replete with challenges and opportunities as well.
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional,” says Roger Crawford.
Echoing Crawford’s words, Helen Keller in The Open Door, observes:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Let us, therefore, embark on an adventurous journey in these trying times--shedding off negativity, despair and helplessness.
Let us allow and open ourselves to be purified by the fires of crisis.
Lastly, let us move forward and train our eyes on the prize—a future full of renewal, hope, promise and potential.