Thanks to a conversation I had earlier with one of my brothers, I write this to you with less emphasis on melodrama and more emphasis on having a positive impact on how you feel and how you move forward in this difficult time. Although many of you are scared or anxious about what is happening today, I want to share with you some thoughts and ideas on how I feel we can all get through this and move forward with our lives in a positive manner.
It begins with gratitude. Understanding that every day we wake up is another day that we have been blessed with an opportunity to do something good or be with someone we love. Our lives are all different and everyone has had good and bad things in their lives long before we ever heard of the Coronavirus. All of us try to manage the various emotions we have to deal with daily. Some are better at it than others, but with the correct approach we can go into every day recognizing what we have to be grateful for in our respective worlds. It is all a matter of perspective. Being scared for the well-being of the people we care for also means that we have people for whom we care. Being concerned that we will lose some of what we have also means that we have something to lose. More often than not we have no control over what happens to our loved ones or whether or not we have less or more tomorrow than we have today. What we do control is how we look at things. And how we look at things will determine our feelings and actions more than any outside force could ever do. At a time when people may need to isolate physically, they may be even more aware of how connected they are to others. I do not enjoy worrying about the people that I love, but I would not change having those people in my life for anything. There is a price to pay for everything in life, and if the price I need to pay for having friends and family that I love is concern or even heartbreak, rather than focusing on the negative, I will focus on how fortunate I am to have them in my life in the first place.
Many years ago I was married to a woman who developed Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer less than 2 years into our marriage. Skipping ahead without going into the details of her illness and treatment, she recovered and went on to a live her life. Although our marriage would end about 4 years later, I learned a wonderful lesson from the time she was ill. When things in life are most difficult, nothing gets you through it better than taking care of someone else. Self indulgence or self pity not only do nothing to help anyone or anything, they do nothing to help the individual feeling them. If you want to feel better during these times I urge you to extend kindness to as many people you can find. Be the person that someone, anyone remembers and says, they were there when I needed them most and they were wonderful. They gave me some joy, some comfort and even love. You will find that in doing so you do not only help them immensely, you help yourself as well.
Focus in on the joys in life the current circumstances still allow you to experience and partake in those things. Control what outside things you allow to stimulate your mind. If you spend your entire day watching the news, I can almost guarantee you will be far more stressed than if you find something that moves you, excites you, or makes you laugh. I would go as far as saying I do not recommend you let a day go by, no matter how trying that day may be, without being moved by beauty or amused by comedy.
And lastly I urge you to have faith. To some that means faith in God, some it means faith in the universe, and others faith in their fellow man. I am not trying to persuade any of you to believe in what I believe in, but whatever it is you do believe in, let that drive your faith. Bad things will happen in this world. It is just the way things are and always has been, but ultimately the last line of defense is not something you can touch or even see. It is what you feel. At a time when the powerful have never been more powerless, look into yourselves and I assure you that you can find all the power you need to move forward.
Earlier I mentioned how reaching out and helping others can make such a difference in how you feel and how you handle a bad situation. In case any of you wonder what I mean by that, if you’ve made it to this point in the letter, by allowing me to provide you with some comfort and encouragement, that is exactly what you helped me accomplish in this letter, and for that I thank you.
Wishing you all strength and peace in the days ahead.
All the best,
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