“Stay healthy and be safe!” This popular slogan which we have expressed to each other so many times throughout 2020 is the same aspire that we yearn for in 2021. Just as we’ve made it this far, we pray and hope for the strength and courage to move forward.
Let’s face it, right now we are in the midst of winter. Often, we wake up to ice, snow and freezing temperatures and face unexpected obstacles and challenges as we try to get from here to there to accomplish our daily goals.
Weathering the storms of this season tests our ability to maintain our emotional equilibrium and to stay physically warm and protected. It is just at this time that 2021 comes to infuse us with a sense of resiliency.
Dr. Al Seibert, a renowned psychologist, in his books, The Resiliency Advantage and The Survivor Personality, states that the flexibility to work through life’s ups and downs makes one emotionally, physically and spiritually better able to thrive in an uncertain world. Keeping a sense of humor and maintaining optimism are good for one’s health and disposition. Reacting to setbacks with calm and patience, rather than fear and anger, can lead to personal growth and self-actualization.
The key is to not allow the negative feelings to become a permanent fixture that freezes our ability to function. Additionally, Jewish tradition teaches that “life is like a turning wheel.” When a point on a wheel reaches the lowest degree, it is bound to turn upwards again. In many faith groups, there are outlets to help each of us move forward such as prayer, charity, ritual and acts of kindness. There are also people and organizations to turn to for help.
We learn from 2020 to see beyond individual events to the big picture—a divine plan. Historically, we see the Creator’s “outstretched arm” in the miraculous coping skills and survival of people in the world. We all have been given the tools to surpass society’s expectations and contribute significantly to humankind. Weathering waves of hardship or peaks of joy has developed our innate capacity for resilience.
Many of us have been fortunate this year, yet we need to take a moment to acknowledge that 2020 was the deadliest year in US history, with myriad deaths attributed to the pandemic. We mourn this tragic loss of life and acknowledge the unimaginable grief of those who must face the new year with empty places in their hearts.
It’s incumbent upon each of us to focus on the inner strength and support networks that our Creator has granted us, so that we can master change with resilience. It is ours to choose whether to cope or crumble, to become bitter or better, stronger or weaker. We can remain victims or emerge as heroes.
Let us all take a New Year’s resolution by committing ourselves to help each other for a cure. Please, in 2021, make an extra effort to keep in touch with isolated and lonely people. During these challenging times, we must remind ourselves that our Creator holds each of our souls in the palm of His hands. No matter what we are facing we are not alone. Our Creator is with us.
May we see a complete healing to our wounded world; May we have the wisdom and courage to and avoid unnecessary confrontation, bigotry and blind hatred and choose to pursue peace.