Finding Faith in the Human Spirit

Over the past few months, we've witnessed communities all over the globe come together like never before. We’ve seen heartfelt and benevolent acts of kindness such as grocery store shopping for elderly and at-risk neighbors, daily salutes and applause for urban medical workers and first responders, fundraising events to provide PPE and ventilators to hospitals, as well as individuals donating their stimulus checks to charity. These gestures are pure examples of the extraordinary human spirit that defines us: selfless, generous and noble. As we mark the passage from spring to summer, emerging from isolation and quarantine, our faith in the resilience and goodness of humanity reminds us that we can overcome whatever happens next.

Good at Heart.

Despite media reports of growing frustrations, bad behavior and public outcries against regulations such as wearing masks and social distancing, we’re reminded to take heart. People are under a great deal of stress across all aspects of life, yet these outlying reports pale in comparison to the number of good news stories in our communities. People, for the most part, are benevolent at heart. We also know that what we witness reflects what we seek. In other words, if we focus on adversity, we will find it. But there are far too many examples of people stepping up to help others for us to even go there.

No Mud, No Lotus.

The funny thing about resilience is that it takes those “Good Vibes Only” tendencies and knocks them on their heads. That’s because this super-power comes from dark places. As the generally grumpy and foul-mouthed author, Mark Manson, puts it, “Psychological resilience doesn’t come from positive feelings. It comes from leveraging your negative feelings. Resilience is the ability to create positive adaptations to negative events.” Our hearts and spirits have been tested lately. And, like a muscle, they’re growing stronger.1

Huzzah! Science!

Biased? Certainly. But, unabashedly, science will be one of our favorite expressions of humanity to emerge from this period of the Anthropocene. Weeks after the novel coronavirus was identified, the scientific community put its collective and proverbial nose to the grindstone. Now, as experts earnestly work to unlock the genetic sequence of COVID-19 and innovate ways to protect global populations, their efforts will undoubtedly prevent disease. And this virus—which appears not to be mutating very quickly—offers hope that a stable vaccine may be possible this year. It’s important to note that a vaccine has never been found this quickly in history -- internationally, researchers are advancing civilization at record pace.

The Human Spirit, Again, Inspires.

It may be a vaccine that eventually saves us, but it will be our tenacity, strength and determination that gets us there. As soon as it was possible, volunteers around the country signed up to be test subjects in clinical vaccine trials. The very first subject was a 43-year old mother of two, Jennifer Haller. "This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something," she said. What’s happening in the world is unprecedented, and how we’re collectively responding is even more so. We are witnessing people volunteer in new and thoughtful ways. We’ve identified areas in our current public healthcare system to improve upon. And we’ve created opportunities to socially connect despite the distance. The compassion and kindness of the human spirit hasn’t been diminished; rather, it is being stoked. And, like a spark, it is spreading faster than the virus. We may not know how the next chapter will unfold -- it could be better, it may be worse -- but it’s all about holding close the aspiration that whatever may come, we will face. We’ll get creative. And, we’ll emerge stronger on the other side. Here’s to keeping the faith together!

"Deep down in the human spirit, there is a reservoir of courage. It is always available, always waiting to be discovered." – Pema Chodron