A year ago, a black cloud swept across the world bringing horrible disease, divisions and so much misery. Some bowed under it, complaining that they had to give up their fun and stay at home, refusing to wear a mask and care for their neighbors, but so many more stood tall, bore the pain and survived greater. Those are the people that inspire me.
Sherrilyn Kenyon summed it up:
“The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell. It is pounded and struck repeatedly before it's plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it strength.”
Yes. the cloud lingers, but I choose to see some of the positives that have come out of this terrible time. I have definitely gained a very new perspective. I like to believe many of us have changed in a way that will make the world better. For one thing, I have a new attitude of gratitude. Even the simple things, like the sunshine or a walk or a nap can make me happy. And when I wake up and feel well, I am always thankful. I recognize and appreciate the things I took for granted that I miss now, like being able to hug someone or even shake hands. I have become more respectful and try to always show concern for others. I am so appreciative of those who literally risked their lives to offer aid and provide what we all needed.
Many of us have discovered new things, ways to be more inventive and a great deal of patience. Some have developed hobbies, uncovered abilities we were previously unaware of, but I know we have all been altered by the events of 2020. Yes, some of the divisiveness and rage have spilled over, but that is not the majority. There is new hope with a new administration that recognizes people are suffering and is offering solutions. Vaccines! Financial relief coming! Those things are so encouraging. We just need to hold onto the positive. It’s just as easy as focusing on the negative, but it feels so much better.
Throughout history, dark times have pressed down and yet people went on, moving to something better. And what lifted them up and pushed them forward? Hope! Spreading a message of hope, no matter how bleak the present, and knowing it will all be all right in the end is the definition of hope. Just envisioning something better gives a person happiness. It can make any situation easier.
Especially in times like these, I want to give back to the world. I choose to offer, among other things, respite wherever I can and so I write romance. Everyone is entitled to hope, to a ‘happily ever after’. During times of trial, if you can take the time to give yourself a break and pick up a book about love, you can ‘get away’ for a little while into a world where, no matter how much conflict or how many threats, the heroes/heroines emerge victorious. The bad guys are defeated and love conquers all. People will tell you that’s not real life. I disagree. Hope and love are the only things we have sometimes and we need to tighten our grip on those beliefs, knowing with our hearts they will always prevail. Pollyanna? Maybe. Unrealistic? But if you’re going to focus your energy on something, why not hope? Concentrate on what you’ve gained. I hear many people say they have spent more time with their children, they’ve taken time to re-evaluate priorities. Some have created art or found previously unknown talents in themselves and the people around them. Forced to slow down, many have actually taken time to smell the roses.
So yes, the pandemic and the social unrest and the inequality are terrible. But this time has given us new insights and hopefully (there’s that word again-hope) the desire to make changes for that will improve life for everyone. To make a happily ever after for everyone. Because we all deserve that.