There are many things that I have not enjoyed about this COVID-19 season. As a matter of fact, I’ve often described the last few months as navigating a boat regularly capsizing. Once again I’m flipping the boat back over, bailing out the water, and rowing furiously to continue forward. This year has worn on us all in many ways, but the innovative thinkers have been able to assess the new climate and pivot appropriately in order not to fail. What a beautiful representation of the ingenuity of our great people.
And while I lament the loss of a simpler time, my heart bursts with pride at the beautiful community which now emerges.
Remember when business was dog-eat-dog? When people didn’t have time to sit and eat a meal with their families? Remember when everyone around you was usually out of town?
My favorite part of this forced quarantine has been the return to community. It’s like we have seen each other through fresh eyes. Suddenly, we know the business owners of our favorite local place. The local businesses don’t look like “corporate entities” anymore – they look like my friend’s life work, and my neighbor’s livelihood. People are spending dollars on gift cards for businesses that haven’t been able to open. They are spreading the word about shops and restaurants in danger, in order to save them. We’ve banded together to care about the non-profits and the foundations who are helping strengthen our communities and meet basic and human needs. We see the value of church, like never before, as pastors call to check in on us and coordinate large community projects to help us organize everyone’s desire to get involved. We see our neighbors on their walks around the block – we are checking in on our parents more than ever before. Our young people have been creatively supported and stand strong as they navigate the biggest blindside they’ve ever experienced. And here we are. The ones who have always chosen community. The ones who thrive in caring for each other – we are together – even apart. It’s what we believe in. It’s a twinge of what we’ve always hoped for. We are stronger than ever because we’ve seen what community can do in a crisis. When we operate like this, our finger is on the pulse. We know our community needs and we communicate together and we solve the major issues one at a time. From the beginning, I said, we are all being dealt the same “case study”. And we have navigated this shutdown with our eyes wide open. Two years ago my Pastor, Sharon Kelly, had a vision of increased community and I wholeheartedly agree. We are #bettertogether. And we know each other better now. We are weathering a storm together. I hope we will never be the same. My community is so smart. So strong. So focused. There is no place I’d rather live than Virginia Beach. Onward and upward.
Sarah Hummel, Executive Vice President, Wave Leadership College