Strength and Resilience

by Valerie L. Hawes

When given the assignment to select a word that describe your feelings regarding the year of 2020, 

I couldn’t settle on only one.   Two words continued to swirl in my mind and, therefore, I insisted on sharing them both with you: STRENGTH and RESILIENCE. These words are probably considered to have been overused during the last year.  But I cannot deny the power and gravity that resides in each of their meanings. 

I know that 2020 has been difficult for most. In fact, I can’t think of a year prior to 2020 that has been as complex and as surprisingly difficult during my lifetime. 

  • We’ve lost iconic figures such as John Lewis, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman and Ruth Bader Ginsburg aka “The Notorious RBG” due to tragedy and disease.
  • We have witnessed a pandemic unlike any other in the last 100 years.
  • Many have lost friends and loved ones due to the pandemic (more than 300,000 American lives lost and more than 3 million worldwide).
  • We’ve also witnessed the death of individuals due to overt racism such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, and in our very own backyard of Columbus, Ohio, Casey Goodson Jr. and Andre Hill.  
  • We have seen some of the largest protest around the world having been sparked by the aforementioned deaths.
  • We have been isolated for months (also referred to as quarantine) due to this pandemic.  
  • Many have been sent home to work remotely, while others have been furloughed indefinitely.
  • Many have canceled birthdays, graduations, weddings, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Hanukkah and so many other important dates that I may have failed to mention.
  • And lastly, we witnessed the longest and most controversial election in the history of our country.

With all of that said, I know it is our strength and resilience that has seen us through it all. Sometimes we don’t even realize how strong we really are until we are faced with difficult times. Had we all known in 2019 what this year had in store; some may have elected not to stick around.  That is a sad notion but I believe that it may be true.  

Our strength has been demonstrated through our actions. So many people were strong for others that could not stand for themselves. I witnessed people volunteering their services to assist others in need. That takes strength. I saw others calling to check on their friends and family who had no one else. That takes strength. I saw those who volunteered their efforts to protest against racial unrest. That takes strength.  Without strength to endure the difficult times, we are unable to demonstrate resilience of overcoming. And we are doing just that!  We are overcoming.  I like to think of resilience as defined as our “comeback power.”   We possess resilience. That is a fact!  We must commit to learning from our experiences and the lessons of this year, so not to repeat our failures.  And because we possess resilience, I know that we can come back better than ever, if we only just believe.

Happy New Year!  

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