Endurance during COVID-19

New York Times columnist David Brooks on endurance during the pandemic:

We have entered the endurance phase of this pandemic. We are slowly mastering this disease, but we have not yet done so. And so we wait — and endure.

Endurance is patience. It is shortening your time horizon so you just have to get through this day. Endurance is living with unpleasantness. In fact, it is finding you can adapt and turn the strangest circumstance into routine.

Endurance is fortifying. It is discovering you can get socked in the nose and take it.

Above all, endurance is living with uncertainty. Sometimes, it’s remaining quiet in the face of uncertainty because no conjecture will really tell you what is coming. Endurance is the knowledge that the only way out is through and whatever must be borne will be borne.

I have been ruminating on this idea a lot lately (see here and here, for example), and I would say we always need endurance as we march through the daily affairs of life. But in suffering it is needed more desperately, and the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a time of suffering and desperation.

I only hope that what Brooks describes is true, that behind all the frantic online partisanship there is a “greater humanity, a deeper compassion in the face of suffering.” I have personally found this to be the case in my own social circles, particularly in my neighborhood and church. The contrast between what I see online and experience face to face is striking—the latter is far more positive.

But then again, my neighbors and I live in a safe, affluent area, and we still have our jobs. I can’t speak to whether, on a larger scale in areas both rich and poor, people are experiencing more compassion and respect for one another. I know Brooks is a very smart guy, but I wonder if he really can either.

Still, one can hope and pray — and endure.

Mountain trail in the Panachaiko mountains, Greece. Source: Wikimedia Commons.