I don't know about you, but it feels to me like 1,000 years have passed between last Monday and today. When I consider what I thought about coronavirus seven days ago versus today...well, let's just say those old thoughts are best described as "quaint."
Last night was the first time I felt really stressed about this situation we all find ourselves in. I've known and accepted that we would all have to make changes to how we do things, how we live our lives.
But what is striking to me is the pace with which everything is moving. Each day, we are faced with new information, new choices, and a lot of opinions. A decision that made sense yesterday makes little sense today. A course of action that seemed reasonable this morning seems like folly by the afternoon.
For those leading nonprofits (and households and school districts and farms and businesses and hospitals and...), the weight of our choices feels heavier on our shoulders.
I started to think, "It's really hard to know what is the best thing to do. I wish someone would just tell me."
Then I remembered a book a friend gave to me 10 years ago as I embarked on grad school: "The Three Questions," written and illustrated by Jon J Muth and based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. It's about "a boy named Nikolai who sometimes felt uncertain about the right way to act."
This morning, I snagged it off my daughter's book shelf (oh, how life has changed in these 10 years!) to ground myself in the answer to Nikolai's three questions:
In brief, Nikolai goes on a journey to find a wise and old turtle named Leo. Nikolai helps Leo to tend his garden and, while there, ends up rescuing an injured panda and her cub. Through these actions, Nikolai discerns the answers to his questions. In the end, Leo tells him:
"Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing by your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world."
"This is why we are here."
Whatever decisions are in front of you, whatever mountains you may have to climb, whatever rivers you may have to cross, I wish you all the best in the coming weeks and months. Take care of your people and the rest will follow.
I will see you on the other side of this.