We are truly living in interesting times. Meditating over the challenges of the past few months, I was reminded of something Robert F. Kennedy said in his address to the University of Capetown, Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966:
“For the fortunate amongst us, the fourth danger is comfort; the temptation to follow the easy and familiar path of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of an education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. There is a Chinese curse that says ‘May we live in interesting times.’
Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged – will ultimately judge him or herself – on the effort he/she has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his/her ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”
Sound familiar. In 2020, we are in a time of danger and uncertainty. It is natural feel anxious, frightened, to moan and groan a bit when life changes in ways we don’t expect or appreciate. At times like this, it helps me to remember that we live on an inhospitable rock with a molten interior and shifting landmasses, spinning along the equator at roughly 1,000 mph while hurling around the sun at nearly 67,000 mph, while our solar system is swirling around the galaxy at about 490,000 mph. Can we really expect that nothing will go wrong – climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, pandemics?
When the rules change (and they always do), we are challenged to create new ways to play the game. Just look at the many ways in which we quickly adapted our “normal” lives in response to the pandemic. And I’m sure there will be a plethora of new ways to cope and thrive no matter what challenges we face going forward. We always have options as to how we respond to change. We can deny, resist, get angry, depressed, and even violent. Or we can accept the inevitability of change, adapt to those we can live with, or even think may be better than the “old way.” Or we can engage our talents and skills to make make our world better.