To the editor:

Today we are faced with one of the greatest challenges of our time.

In the wake of an out-of-nowhere pandemic, mandatory stay-at-home orders and social distancing, it would be easy for us to feel disconnected and alone. But I don’t. In fact, I have never felt closer to my community than at this historic moment in time.

In the past month, I have seen the greatness of the human spirit: A generosity born from the heart of genuine concern and a will to emerge on the other side of this crisis a stronger, more united world.

We have seen heartbreaking loss in the wake of COVID-19, and we wonder when we will reach the summit of this outbreak. In my heart and in my faith, I trust that we are close to rounding that corner and seeing the promise of tomorrow realized when we can all be together again.

I have learned the value of practicing gratitude and the powerful influence it can have on one’s perspective. Before talk began of this novel coronavirus, my life felt like it was moving at breakneck speed, while simultaneously feeling wholly inert. I needed to hard stop and examine that and make some decisions about who I was becoming and who I want to be. My future is brighter for having taken that reflection, and I am thankful for the opportunity to pause and examine my life in stasis.

I am thankful for the opportunities on the horizon for our community as we emerge from this trial with new perspective and wisdom in how we live our lives, from how we treat one another to what we choose to do with the finite resource of time we are given each day.

We will grow from this experience. We will learn new things, we will pursue new interests, and we will rediscover ourselves in a way we never could otherwise.

With growing national unemployment, I know the future seems uncertain, but I challenge my neighbors to open their minds to the potential that this unique time affords us. In nature, fire releases captive nutrients from dead plants and trees in turning them to ash, and from that ash new life always appears.

In a time that we could understandably feel our most powerless, we have the opportunity to choose who we will be when this is over. We have the time to make that happen. I see this as a second chance for all of us to be who we might have been.

I face tomorrow with hope. God bless all of you.

See the good.

Bobby Allen Roach

Whitmell