Early in her book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria von Trapp (as she was known then - they dropped the "von" when they became American citizens) recounted her early married life. It was one of wealthy, ease, and loving cosiness until one day, because Georg's generous effort to help a friend, they were financially ruined. It was a humiliating experience. The once proud aristocratic Captain was forced to let go servants, curb his lifestyle, and even rent out rooms in his magnificent house to keep the roof over his family's head.
Lucky for him, he'd had the good sense to marry Maria. Maria marshaled the efforts, took on poverty, and with her wily cunning and fearless faith, turned a family hobby into a world-wide success. But before all of that, when they were still merely the Von Trapps, who had fallen into hard times, she kept her husband's spirits up with her pragmatism and clear-eyed vision. The children followed her example, making the best out of their new circumstances and astonishing everyone with their flexibility and lack of arrogance. "Imagine," Maria marveled her husband, "if we hadn't had this disaster, we never would have known what fine fellows the children are!"
I read that book way back when I was 16 and that comment stuck with me ever since. Without the crisis, they wouldn't have known their own mettle.
Right now, across the nation, we are closing ranks and doors, hoping to keep the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) at bay. We are doing so without marshal law, without fighting, and really, with very little panic. On social media, people are starting groups designed to connect people during this time of isolation, whether for financial help, physical help, or just for community. People are losing jobs and income and yet you hear very little complaining. The Dropkick Murphys did a free online concert that broke records. Stores are adjusting their hours in consideration of the elderly, food delivery services are dropping their commissions, and those in quarantine are serenading their neighbors.
We don't know how long this social distancing will last here in the US. We don't know how this pandemic is going to end. But we never knew what fine fellows we could be until disaster struck. And that is something really worth knowing.
Hang in there, friends! The best days are yet to come!
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