By Lynn Harvey, EdD, RDN, SNS, SNA President 2017-09-28 12:57:26
Being Resilient in Times of Incredible Adversity AS I PREPARE THIS MESSAGE IN MID-SEPTEMBER, my thoughts are with all those who have been devastated by the ravages of a succession of historic national disasters: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria. One after another, these monster storms spawned destructive winds and rains. The damage they left in their wake seems unbelievable, if we had not witnessed it on the news—or experienced it firsthand in communities all over the South and the Caribbean. (I’m also mindful of wildfires in the West, earthquakes in Mexico and floods in Nepal.) Lives have been changed forever. As a school nutrition family, all our thoughts go to those who have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods, possessions, heirlooms—and hope. At times like these, there are simply no words to adequately describe the anguish, to comfort the victims—or to describe their resilience. Unforeseen disasters like these have a way of revealing a lot about us as individuals—and as a nation. I have been amazed by the strength and stamina shown by families and communities as they band together to begin the long road to recovery. The commitment to restoring, rebuilding and renewing is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Although many of us will never know this level of hardship, we can all relate to adversity and the resilience that comes in response. It’s not just about “bouncing back” to the status of things before the life-altering event. It’s about accepting what transpired—feeling it, embracing it, mourning it, transforming it, moving beyond it and harnessing its lessons to shape us into the people we are destined to become. The poet Rumi wrote: “Adversity is a trip we take. Resilience paves the road; it is the willingness to endure hardship and as a result, allow ourselves to be fundamentally and forever changed. For our effort, when we return from the journey, we receive gifts of greater confidence, strength, wisdom and compassion.” I am so proud of our members and our state and national associations for stepping up in numerous ways to contribute to recovery efforts. Rebuilding—both property and lives—will take long months and years. Please continue to give what you can in money, materials, time and prayers. We certainly are at our personal and professional best when we pull together in the spirit of hope and resilience.
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