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Easter Reflection

Holidays always prompt me to reflect on life. It is easy, on holidays, to mark time and mentally rewind to recall exactly what circumstances surrounded us on this very day just one year ago. Easter has always been a particularly poignant time marker for me because it falls just after my birthday and signifies a turning point, especially in New England, as the days become longer and signs of spring finally begin to appear.

For obvious reasons, this Easter has spurred even deeper internal philosophical banter. I'm certain that the pandemic with which we suddenly find ourselves grappling, has triggered many people to take stock of their lives. When forced to abandon nearly everything with which we are familiar, we must, as humans, take pause. For me, this all came at an interesting time of major transition in my life.

Just over three months ago, James and I sold our business, an inn, which we poured our hearts and souls into and defined us professionally for the better part of our adult lives. During our sixteen years as innkeepers, our family morphed from just the two of us to a very unexpected family of seven. In hindsight, I'm not entirely sure how we juggled it all for so long, but when you're in the thick of it, you don't really think. You just go. So when we stopped, it was (drink) this huge eye-opening epiphany. It sounds trite to say that I was finally able to stop and smell the roses, but cliches exist for a reason. I didn't realize the constant stress I was feeling until it was virtually eliminated.

Still, there were the day to day responsibilities associated with raising five kids in a very busy world which left (drink) little time for sitting on the couch eating bonbons. But then, the busy world component of life was stripped away, and within a three month window, my life (drink) did a total 180. I've had a lot more time to take pause and really consider what's important. I thought when we sold the inn, I would waste no time finding my next professional passion and would pour all my energy into it. But I no longer want that. I want this. The freedom, the time, the pause button. I want to sit down with my kids and read a book or play a game. I want to take a walk and see things I hadn't noticed before because I was driving too fast, always late for something seemingly important.

Of course I mourn the days of human interaction, of going places, and feeling safe. I look at pictures from just a few weeks ago and my heart aches for the innocent people we were, not knowing what the world had in store for us. It's a bitter sweet time and emotionally exhausting if we think too hard. (Drink) What I do know (drink), without a doubt, is that we have all been given the opportunity to hit the reset button. Someone recently said to me that her biggest fear after all of this is over is that we go back to exactly the way things were. I couldn't agree more.

I hope things change. I hope we learn to step back. I hope that all the beautiful gestures of kindness we are seeing, the deeper compassion, and the shared connection we all now have, (drink) will remain. I hope we gain the courage to lead our best lives. I hope we slow down and stop constantly reaching, constantly comparing, constantly wanting more. Is that the (drink) driving force behind the way the world is progressing? Have we all (drink) lost sight of what we are running toward when what's truly important is right there in front of us? It sounds too easy doesn't it? It sounds like something I've been telling myself for years and I know it's true, but I've been too busy to listen. But I'm not too busy anymore and I like what I hear. I hope everyone else does too.

“Everything goes by so fast that if you want to be a part of it, you need to go that fast. But because you go that fast, you don't lead the life you should lead." Guillaume Canet

Easter brother wrote this. Different perspective as he lives in Australia, but the sentiment is the same, all the way across the world.

Easter Resurrection

Those who know and have spent time with me around Easter will be familiar with my annual speeches about ‘Sad Christmas’. Easter has always been for me a poorer sibling to the fabulous holiday of Christmas. There are no gifts and little sharing, no festive cheer, it usually falls at the turning of the seasons and marks an end to long days on the beach. It beckons the end of daylights savings and our descent into dark and gloomy winter. There is also a whiff of guilt about Easter. Something lingering from our more religious past where we were meant to feel guilty about crucifying poor Jesus. The air of death pervades the long four days and robs them of any celebratory flair.

However, against this backdrop of global death and despair which has not been witnessed in generations, I somehow feel great hope. This years’ Easter really does feel like the first green shoot in the resurrection and growth of mankind.

The images of bodies in makeshift morgues and desperate hospital staff the world over make it hard not to imagine a bleak future. The flow on effects to the livelihoods of so many humans is hard to fathom and the bizarre changes to everyone’s daily lives can be so confounding that my sense of hope may seem naïve or even downright insensitive to what is happening across the globe. However, I am now seeing in our daily human interactions, and the subtle changes in how we are now treating each other, some optimism that this year may be the beginning of a new renaissance of man. Is this crisis the event that will wake us from our moral slumber? Will this mark the beginning of a brave new world where we are judged not by our personal accumulation of wealth, but by how we interact with the world and by our accumulation of moral capital? Will it soon not be a person’s bank balance that acts as our crude measurement of success in our culture, but by the contribution we all make as individuals to the rebuilding of our society?

I am seeing many encouraging signs as we all find new ways to interact with one another and the world. Of course, when society is forced to put nearly everything on hold we see terrible scenes of hoarding and the breakdown of our usual social norms. But we are also now seeing that our social rituals of the old daily grind are being replaced by acts of spontaneous kindness, sharing, and a suddenly more respectful way of engaging with each other.

Of course this is all very easy for me to preach about as I sit in the lucky city of Adelaide in the lucky country of Australia. I am not an optimistic enough person to confidently say I would be feeling the same sense of hope if I was in Manhattan, Madrid, or Madras. I do have enough confidence in my fellow man though to know that even in those god forsaken centres of despair there must be citizens helping one another and joining forces to begin the rebuild.

It is this rebuilding and the human spirit of hope that allows me to confidently suggest that Australia will emerge from this as lucky and as well placed as ever, and will enjoy a standard of living unparalleled on earth. We will see some terrible scenes over the coming weeks and months and we will need to patiently wait for this storm to clear. When it does though, we will have a new perspective on life and our priorities will be forever changed. I know that we will come out of this stronger, and more gentle in our treatment of one another. I also suspect that Easter will no longer be my Sad Christmas but my annual Celebration of Hope.

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