As I watch news release after news release, I’m reminded of incidences in my adulthood when life as we knew it, came to a standstill. 9/11 is one of those times. Like most Americans, I can recall exactly where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when the first plane flew through the twin towers.
At the time, I was living in New Jersey, just an hour away from the crisis that became the focus of our very lives. By dinner time, we were leaving the house, seeking out our neighbors at our neighborhood restaurant, The Ona Rosa. There, we took count of who was missing. Who was in the City and reported safe. Who was trying to get back home. We talked, we cried, we watched more news feed, we sang patriotic songs, and we hugged. In the days, weeks and months that followed, we stood together as neighbors, friends, family, and above all, ‘one nation’.
The second incident that comes to mind is the 2008 financial crisis. I was selling advertising for WindCheck Magazine, a regional sailing publication. Even as I was speaking to current and potential advertisers, the stock market was falling by the minute. There I was, still asking for marketing dollars from yacht builders and business owners who serviced this luxury industry as Wall Street crashed. It was a hard sell.
As the days and weeks went on, the economic loses mounted for everybody. However, we came together and recognized we were all in this together. Small businesses cut spending and did everything they could to keep workers on their payrolls as we battled the economic storm. We cut ad rates, extended credit, and, as an industry, worked together to minimize our collective losses. There were casualties, but most of us survived and rebuilt.
In both of those instances, we came together as a community and found solutions that pulled us through the emotionally charged crises. In the wake of 9/11 we suffered death, political upheaval, and financial crisis, but we stood strong as a nation. Agin, in 2008, we stood together as a nation. We may not have agreed with the politics, but we knew that we had to stand together to weather the volatile economic and political climates.
There is Hope.
Today, as we watch the world shut down, we are, once again, uncertain and anxious. We second guess that we are over reacting, or that we didn’t act soon enough. We are concerned about health, finances, and food shortages. Life, as we know it, has come to a halt. Emotions alternate between, confusion, uncertainty, anger, hope, and possibly despair. The light at the end of the tunnel seems distant, and we don’t know what lurks in the darkness.
As I look back and compare the challenges presented by Covid-19 with 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash, I realize, we’ve been here before. We’re all trying to be responsible and observe the new guidelines that are being implemented daily. We’re trying to do business as usual – sell our products and services, keep our families healthy, and be good neighbors.
Yes, we’ve been here before. And though the future holds uncertainty, hope lies in lessons from the past. Hope lies in our Faith in a sovereign God, in the love we have, for not just our families, but our neighbors and the stranger across town. And, it lies in our ability to pull together as a community. Hope lies in how quickly we create a new normal to see us through the weeks ahead.