Friday, March 20, 2020

Insight: Valuable lessons learned from the past

By Lorraine Glowczak

Do I even touch upon THE inevitable subject of today? Or should I dance around the larger than average-sized elephant in the room to give us all a break from the daily barrage by not mentioning THE virus?

As much as I want to give myself – and you – an occasion away from it all, I’ve decided it would be irresponsible of me as a writer if I completely ignored and didn’t address this highly unusual time we all are experiencing. Although I will not dig deep into the subject of the coronavirus, I will lightly tap into it with the intention to cheer your heart and provide a bit of hope.

I will start with words of wisdom from Tom Mockaitis. He is a professor of History at DePaul University where he teaches World Civilizations. He has this to say about our current situation: “The pandemics of the past offer valuable lessons. First, in all probability COVID-19 will not come close to the severity of any of the great pandemics. We have far more knowledge and resources to prevent infection and treat this disease than did our great grandparents in 1918. Second, fear continues to be as contagious and debilitating as the disease itself. Considerable evidence suggests that COVID-19 is not particularly lethal to healthy people.”

I don’t know about you – but I feel slightly better by his uplifting words. In fact, Mockaitis says it all in his first sentence: “The pandemics of the past offer valuable lessons.”

One day, after we have all survived the present moment, this experience will one day be in the past. We have an opportunity right now – today - to be an example for good and offer a valuable lesson to future generations,

As I write today’s Insight (Wednesday, March 18th) it is my mother's birthday. If she was alive today, she would have been 91 years old. It goes without saying I miss her deeply and I especially miss our talks. I wonder what advice she would offer me today - in light of recent circumstances. I suspect that since she has been through the Great Depression, she would be slightly concerned about the present situation but would know, from experience, all will turn out well.

I can’t be certain what lessons she would impart on to me as we face this very unusual time in our generation but, based upon our talks in the past, I believe she would have offered the follow pep talk:

There is always enough to go around. And if there is not, humans are innovative and creative so don’t let your anxieties get the best of you.

Family and friends are most important. In fact, when you believe you have lost everything – you realize how much you have gained. Communities come together in times of misfortune.

There is a big difference between what you want and what you need. Yes, we all would like the latest in material objects – but they never replace things and memories like the sharing of warm fresh bread out of the oven lathered with melted real butter.

We need each other to be happy. Protect your family – and your community at all cost. They really are all you have. And when it comes down to it – it’s really not about you. If don’t have community? What good is that?

But above all the hardships is love. And hope. And laughter. And family.

Those are the lessons I belive my mother would have shared with me if she was alive today. And in honor of her – I will share her valuable lessons of the past on to you. Be well!


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