Friday, April 3, 2020

Insight: The indestructible nature of the human spirit

By Lorraine Glowczak

What can I offer to you, our dear and faithful readers, that hasn’t already been said?

I have asked this question every Wednesday at 2 a.m. on publication day for the past three- and one-half years as I prepare each week to write this editorial. But I have never once imagined I would be faced to write an “Insight” during times like these.

With all the uncertainty we currently face, most are experiencing anxiety, vulnerability, fear and isolation in ways that has never been experienced in recent years. I have no previous knowledge in such matters and am flying by the seat of my pants into unknown territory and have no words of wisdom to impart. So, I turn to more wise and talented writers before me who could possibly guide me through the current challenges and mysteries of life we are experiencing now.

The first author that comes to mind is that of a young German-born writer from the Netherlands. Anne Frank. If there is anyone who exuded the indestructible nature of the human spirit during difficult times – it was (and remains) Anne Frank.

As I write this, I am entering into my third week of self-isolation – not so much for myself but to prevent the potential spread of the virus onto others. Although I haven’t lost my mind yet, some days I wonder how much longer I can remain cloistered in my small 900 square foot home with my husband and small dog – without going bonkers.

Anne, on the other hand, lived with eight other people in an approximately 450 square foot apartment (the secret annex) for two years. Anne and the rest of the group lived in hiding with the constant fear of being discovered and could never go outside. They had to remain quiet during daytime in order to avoid detection by the people working in the warehouse below.

With this in mind, what words would Anne have penned if she were alive today? What poetic and hopeful advice would she have shared? Of course, one will never know, but she did offer the following bits of wisdom in her diary that could be useful to us now as we face our own fears in uncertain times:

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”

“I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains”.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”

“Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that 'a quiet conscience makes one strong!'”

“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

The fact is, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last. We don’t know how many local and small businesses will have to shut their doors. We don’t know how long we will have to socially-isolate. We don’t know how much we ourselves will be affected by this virus (financially and physically) and we don’t know how many more people will die. But if we can, from time to time, grab onto Anne’s indestructible and resilient spirit, we will get through this. I believe if we can just hang in there, we will get to the other side of chaos with strength of character – even if it means awkwardly holding on to ideals that appear to no longer apply.

Is it possible that if we can become a part of the indestructible nature of the human spirit that Anne exemplifies, we can rise above the fear, anger, sadness and anxiety – even if for a moment?

When this time is behind us and I look back, I hope this was the path I had taken and did not let the insanity that is currently knocking on the peripheral edges of my mind suck me in. Wish me luck. And for you, our dear and faithful readers, I wish the best during these unusual and difficult times. I hope Anne offered you as much optimism and faith as she has given me.

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