These are trying times. Americans are still enduring a very contentious presidential election wherein the winner is still not officially known.
We are once again seeing a surge in reported cases of the coronavirus, including here at home in Tahlequah. Our schools are again switching to virtual learning for at least a week and possibly for the rest of the semester. Some of us have lost family members and friends, and our community itself has lost two stalwarts to the virus in Dr. Don Stucky and Judge Donn Baker.
While tens of millions of Americans are celebrating the apparent victory of a Joe Biden presidency, an equal number are facing disappointment and frustration. This is the same as it was four years ago, when those who are disappointed today were celebrating the victory of a Donald Trump presidency. In November 2016, many individuals predicted gloom, and were living in fear and had no hope for a brighter future. Today, in November 2020, many are living in fear and see no hope for a brighter future.
As we are entering the precious holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, some in the U.S. are telling us to not spend this time with our family, friends or loved ones. They tell us to instead spend the holidays alone or with our own households, saying that would be best if we want to have them with us in the coming years. Trouble is, some may not be with us in the coming months with or without the coronavirus, and this may be our last chance to enjoy the holidays in their mortal presence.
As the world continues to fight the war against the coronavirus, we would do well to remember that we are fighting a virus that is 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand, and which has brought the world and global economies to their knees.
Religious leader and former Brigham Young University President Jeffrey Holland put things in good perspective in a recent address when he said, “When we have conquered [the coronavirus], and we will, may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, [and] freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty.”
In a recent article on finding hope during times of despair, Dr. David Morgan, a psychologist in Washington state, said increasing our hope can also increase our joy and our happiness. He pointed out that since the future is truly unknown, it can make just as much sense to look forward with joy as it does to look forward with despair, so make the choice to look forward with hope and trust.
In thinking about that, I was reminded of the fact that everything we do in life is a choice, and we can choose to look forward to a brighter day and do what we can to make the future better for all, or we can lose today by wallowing in the darkness of sadness, anger and despair.
The vast majority of us, as individuals, cannot do any large-scale things to change election results to our liking or come up with a cure for the coronavirus and distribute it throughout the world. We can, however, do what little bit we can in our own ways and in our own areas where we do have a say and some control.
Developing greater hope requires practice, and making the choice to act in trying times is what can bring hope to others and to ourselves.
Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.