Notes from Nate: Resilience in the Face of a Pandemic

This holiday season reminds me why I love to work with the elderly.

So many of my personal reactions to 2020 and this terrible pandemic have been the same ones you have likely experienced. Disappointment, fear, anger, anxiety, and frustration are as much of a plague as the virus itself. With so much negativity and the feeling that we have been robbed of our cherished holiday traditions, it is easy to have a gut reaction and say that you don’t feel like being thankful this Thanksgiving or that the whole holiday season is damaged.

It is in times like these when the lessons provided by our elders, the true gifts they give to all of us, are by far the most critical and important.  They are the teachers the world needs right now because they teach us how to persevere.

At St. John’s, our teachers are the elders who have lost their sight, but still see the beauty in life.  They are the elders who have lost their verbal words, but who greet every day. They are those who have lost many friends, families, and spouses over the years, but who look for new connections and greet them with hope. Though their bodies may be frail, they show us what strength looks like.

In a year when it is so easy to focus on what has been taken from us this holiday season, the elders in our community us teach us about resilience. They teach us about gratitude for life.

It is for these reasons that I wish more of the world honored their lessons and cherished them as much as we do.  Although the restrictions and limitations that govern the world right now keep us separated, the holidays will live on in our hearts and spirits. As a new calendar year approaches, the lessons from the elders could help steer our hearts in a better direction.

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