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Hope — The one thing we surely need

One of our presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, famously and rightly pronounced, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

He was right then, and if he were alive today, I believe his words would again have great meaning and substance.

Look, I’m as concerned as most people are about the spread of the coronavirus.

That said, we all have it.

Some of us have it literally (physically); the rest of us have it figuratively.

And I certainly mean no disrespect or neglect to those among us who have contracted this killer virus.

I pray for all of you, your families and friends.

But if this invisible assassin doesn’t attack you physically, it hits at the one thing we all surely need: Hope.

How do we keep and strengthen our hope?

With each other … relying and depending on each other.

This virus forces us to physically distance ourselves.

I’m sure many of you now hear fewer “hello’s” at the grocery store, gas pump or anywhere in public as we wear our masks and keep our heads down.

(And while I’m writing, please watch out for and lend a hand to those among us who are alone.)

Our strongest communities have a healthy social fabric.

They are defined by public events, public gatherings, businesses and venues that help to bring joy and meaning to our lives.

Parades. Festivals. Concerts.

Most, if not all, have been canceled this summer in our region.

Yet, our communities — indeed our lives — are defined by our individual and collective will and efforts to overcome challenges … fear.

So what is our best defense against COVID-19?

Again: Each other (as our best minds find a treatment and vaccine.)

A strong will. A tenacious desire to go about protecting our families, living our lives and enhancing our communities in the face of losing hope.

We cannot hide from this virus.

We have to more gradually get back to work in an intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate way.

Working keeps us focused amid this pandemic.

Working supports our way of life … our livelihoods, our families, our communities.

And yes, that work and focus must invigorate our caution … better practices and habits to keep more of us safe and healthy.

I am not advocating to throw caution to the wind.

No. Never.

And yes, there are many who have no job to go back to. But it makes sense that the more of us who smartly brave this pandemic at work the more that others should ultimately get back, too.

I am simply offering an opinion that our counter-attack against this enemy cannot be to hide, but rather to work together to win back our hope.

Robert O. Rolley Jr. is publisher of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and the Lock Haven Express.

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