Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pandemic Post

Timing is everything.

This is the Moment of Reflection I presented at the Indianapolis Rotary Club on March 31, 2020. The first on Zoom. It was a shadow of the networking event I know the Rotary Club produces. But these times are a shadow of the recent past.

The 'strike-throughs' are due to time constraints.

Indianapolis Rotary Club Moment of Reflection
March 31, 2020
Kim Brand
These are times that try men’s souls

On December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine said ‘These are the times that try men’s souls’ during the early days of the American revolution. He was giving a report on the Revolutionary War success of the Continental Army and at the time didn’t have a lot of good news. He was frustrated by delays in prosecuting the war, and setbacks what they may have meant to the prospects for success, but he was sure that Providence was on the side of the Americans, and that if needed, God would intervene.
He commented: “Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before.”
Indeed, America is rapidly acquiring a firmer habit than before. This was predicted by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor when he said: “I fear all we have done is to waken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
Our great America’s thinkers and doers, everywhere, are rising to the Coronavirus challenge in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined. Our hospitals, health care providers, industries, and a united government, are marshalling our great talents, resources and determination to bend the curve of innovation upward as fast as flattening the curve of the spreading virus. We will conquer this threat, as we have so many before. Not without loss, not without change and not without fear.
156 years later, at Roosevelt’s first inaugural, he said in response to fear: surrounding the continuing depression,
Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.
Roosevelt’s oath was made with his hand on his family bible, opened to I Corinthians 13. At verse 12 it says: “For now we see through a glass darkly.” How appropriate for our times.
The future is rarely seen with clarity. But with a laser focus on success inspired by our resolve, we will emerge from this crisis more connected to each other, more prepared for the future and unafraid of whatever new challenges we may come to face.