A Letter from our Executive Director

A Letter from our Executive Director

Dear Friends,

At times like this, it can be difficult to remain optimistic. But there is so much goodness in the world—in our communities, within ourselves. Of course you don’t need to be convinced of this because—as a friend and supporter of the Yes Network—you know that wonderful things happen each and every day when communities come together to celebrate the goodness inside us all.

Indeed, we are living in a moment unlike any moment in history, but it may be key to healing ourselves and our communities. We have reason to be optimistic!

History has produced wars and famines and moon landings and earthquakes. And there have been revolutions and upheavals and technological breakthroughs. All were preceded by fear and uncertainty, and all helped shape our collective conscious. But they don’t seem to compare in magnitude to the moment we are in now. Everyone, everywhere, is impacted.

The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the disruption it has caused the world over, has forced us all to hit the pause button on our lives, to slow down. How we decide to dwell in this pause will chart our foreseeable future. Now is the time to reset our priorities and to take a good look at ourselves.

Our lives are filled with challenges and opportunties.  Some are big, some are small, and many are products of our own doing: Fear of what others think of us. Fear of the unknown. Feeling inadequate or less than. Desperation. Isolation. All of these things have a way of creeping into our lives. And when they do, they can take a toll on us and our families and our communities.

Many of these feelings underlie the uncertainties we are experiencing now. The coronavirus has brought them to the surface.

In the past week alone, I’ve heard people ask “Do you understand what is happening?” and “Do you think this will get worse?” And I’ve heard people express concerns like “If I get laid off, I have no idea how I will make my house payment or feed my kids.” “I’m afraid of dying.”

There is fear in people’s voices, whether it’s about personal health and safety, family wellbeing, or the economy. But more than fear, the virus has exposed our common humanity. We are all human. We are all vulnerable. And we are all in this together.

This is our moment to slow down and breathe and to build deep and authentic connections with our families and neighbors. At no other point in history has a world event made it clearer that we are more alike than different, more dependent on one another than we imagined. We should take a break from the stress and rigors of our normal routines, look at what’s in front of us, and remember what matters. We might ask ourselves: What do I want in life?  Am I spending enough time with the people I love? What am I trying to accomplish? What have I been avoiding?

While we practice “social distancing,” we are reminded of how important human interactions are to our wellbeing and happiness, and how often we take this for granted. Can we think of ways to more deeply connect with family and friends and neighbors? How can we begin to see our sameness and not our differences?

COVID-19 will someday become a thing of the past, and we will return to our normal lives. But normal doesn’t have to mean the same. Normal can be a world full of abundance. Normal can be communities built on love and compassion. It is up to us to decide how we will create the future.

Let’s embrace this collective pause and think of the ways we can heal ourselves and our communities. We can start by identifying the chronic stress in our lives and the feelings of fear and insecurity that prevent us from being our best selves. When we learn to let these things go, we can connect more deeply with our families and begin to build loving and prosperous communities.

Now is our moment to breathe. It may be the opportunity we have all been waiting for.

Let’s Build a World of Love Together,

Jerry Sparby, Executive Director

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