Frequently over the years, it has dawned on us that we are so blessed to live at this time and in this country.

Think of the hardship that was a way of life for earlier generations. Think of the hardship that has been a way of life in other spots on the globe even during our generation.

In our homes of milk and honey, how can we not feel grateful? We have been so blessed. We are so blessed even still.

Now comes our hardship.

Now comes our challenge.

Now comes our moment for gallantry.

"All the world is full of suffering," Helen Keller once observed. "It is also full of overcoming."

We will get through this, but we will have to show our mettle to do so. That's just the way it is. Accept it and embrace it; let this test to us be an inspiration, not just a fear.

Have faith, the faith that is the bedrock of hope.

Life in these empty-streeted days is a bit surreal. Because it is, we have a tendency to view the COVID-19 outbreak and all of its implications as some odd sort of temporary passage, as a historic episode we endure for a short time and then later recount in stories as a curious and almost mythical encounter. "Wasn't that bizarre?" "You wouldn't believe what that was like."

It's possible this pandemic will be a relatively short-term thing and that the severe illness it threatens will afflict a comparatively few people.

We all wish for that, certainly.

But it's also possible -- even likely perhaps -- that it will be with us for months.

We have to be prepared for that.

We have to rally ourselves for the possibility that the challenge will be long.

We will get through this. Even though right now, we may not see precisely how, we will find a way.

Let's remind ourselves that we're made of sterner stuff.

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you," freedom singer Bernice Johnson Reagon said. "They're supposed to help you discover who you are."

In this hour of hardship, let us be who we would want to be.

Let us be kind. Let us pick up the phone and call the lonely widow hidden in solitude inside her house.

Let us be generous. Let us give what patronage we can to the shopkeeper who is hanging on the brink.

Let us be smart. Let us exercise common sense to practice anti-viral hygiene and social distancing.

And let us be optimistic and even courageous. Let us confront our fear and embrace our challenge. Let us be blessed.

(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, Sunday

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