by Mona Cardwell, 04/05/2020, GRAWN, MI

Adult Category

What Would Papa Say?
by Mona Cardwell
April 5, 2020

On the morning of March 18, I sent the following text to each of my two sons:
Good morning precious son. Thought for the day:
Being calm in the midst of chaos is a sign of true power.
We will endure this time of trouble with grace, kindness and inner strength. I love you with all my heart. Mom
My youngest son, age 30, is an essential worker (repairing electronic equipment in stores and banks) and lives nearby. Because he comes into contact with the public on a daily basis, we are not seeing him. We talk and text and FaceTime, but have no physical contact at all. It’s been three weeks now since I’ve hugged him. I leave food on his doorstep to express the love I feel for him. My older son, age 32, lives in Union City, NJ. He did work in midtown Manhattan but has been working from home since mid-March. He is struggling with being cooped up in a small condo, surrounded by illness and death, and dwindling quality of life. To encourage him, I told him what my Dad, his Papa, who passed away in 2012, would say to us if he could:
“Count your blessings because it could be a lot worse. We could be at war. Bombs could be exploding over our heads. Our children could be soldiers under fire. We could be starving. We could be homeless. We could be sick. We could be unable to pay our bills. We could be in a gas chamber like the Jews under Hitler. We could be imprisoned. We could be being held hostage by terrorists. There are any number of scenarios that would make this situation look like a picnic. We must remember that and be grateful constantly for the blessings that are there if we look for them and acknowledge them.”
I find great comfort in reading about the Brits during the war and their courage in the face of the Blitz and food deprivations and having to send their children away from London to who knew what. Keep Calm and Carry On is a powerful phrase when you consider what was happening.
It is helpful to think about all the horrible things the world has faced over the centuries and OVERCOME. Oppressive and cruel tyrants died. Plagues dwindled away. Wars came to an end. Drugs and vaccines were developed that obliterated some diseases. Life spans lengthened. Machines replaced back-breaking labor. Education became available to those willing to work hard and persevere. Enlightenment eclipsed ignorance.
I’ve given myself permission to just do the best I can every day, push myself a little bit if that’s all I’m able to do and just CHILL. These are hard times and I am going to be gentle with myself. And gentle with those around me as well. That is the only way we will get through this.
Peace be with you.