I hope this note finds you and yours safe and healthy.
As we slowly move into the summer months, I find myself noticing many wonderful things that I may have overlooked a year ago—the weather is warming, each morning I hear more birds singing and there is a feeling of hope in the air. With vaccine accessibility and case numbers trending downwards, I have been thinking how it is the perfect time to acknowledge the value and even celebrate some of the surprising gifts the pandemic has given us. It has taken much away but offered many positive impacts in return. We are, by and large, moving past the worst moments as a nation — which makes it a good time to take a deep breath and celebrate some of the positives.
I recognize there is still much to do, but I also take great comfort in looking at all that we have accomplished and overcome considering the very challenging circumstances. Because we have taken it one day at a time, I sometimes must remind myself that being resilient, coping by using skills we did not know we had, and making sure the work continued in the middle of a pandemic is nothing short of miraculous. For every low, there is a high and it’s true that even this current scenario has a silver lining to it.
It feels like a good time to slow down just a bit, to see beyond the ordinary and celebrate the extraordinary. I have so much gratitude for the people that have been on the front line over the past fourteen months — our medical professionals, nurses, doctors, retailers, grocery store clerks, those who delivered groceries and goods to us at home. They deserve our appreciation and recognition. In addition, we should celebrate parents who became teachers while still doing their job, anyone who reached out to a colleague when virtual work became extra stressful, nonprofit staff who found new ways to deliver services and programs at a time when people needed them most . . . and so many others.
At United Way, we have special appreciation for our community’s generosity. So many have stepped up to contribute, recognizing that many of our neighbors are struggling. It is a privilege to serve as a means by which people express their care for others. It means we get to see the very best of people and that is worth celebrating. In a few decades, the Covid pandemic will seem like the 1918 Flu Pandemic. Future generations will look back at our pictures, read the statistics and marvel at how our world was affected. It put new and unforeseen pressures on all of us.
The perception will be our lives were turned upside down. Our everyday routines were brought to a stop, and any sense of normalcy was lost.But through it all, I believe we learned that our community is adaptive, that WE are adaptive, and life is more flexible than we think. As life slowed down, we found ways to stay connected with people, even if it was virtually. The pandemic has been a time of extraordinary change, and we have had to rapidly adapt to the evolving situation. Schools turned online with virtual learning. Many doctors started offering telemedicine. Grocery shopping was done by delivery. And perhaps most importantly, it gave us an opportunity to realize how much we treasure the connections to our loved ones.
The pandemic has been a testament to just how resilient we are as humans and as a community and our ability to be flexible and creative in the face of uncertainty. This gives me so much hope. Just think, if this community can rise to the challenge of a pandemic, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We are a community of survivors. The battle has been hard & long. But let us look forward and focus on the brighter side and the fact that we are emerging from it with a renewed sense of gratitude and hope. As always, thank you for LIVING UNITED.
President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County