Covid-19: wounds into virtues

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, April 16, 2020

Resilience is a must-have virtue in the days of COVID-19, according to Linda Kavelin-Popov.
Card courtesy The Virtues Project

Many are wondering how much Covid-19 social isolation we can endure. One of our longtime coffee companions responds that it all depends on how resilient we are.

In my April 12, 2018 column, Linda Kavelin-Popov shared her wisdom on the virtue of endurance: “Endurance is our ability to withstand adversity and hardship.”

But endurance has a companion virtue, she says: resilience.

Co-founder of The Virtues Project, Linda wrote on the importance of resilience in her blog entry for April 5, 2020, Virtues in the Time of Corona:

“Resilience” is “using each setback for a comeback. When life tests us, we are not victims – we are athletes, gaining strength from adversity. With resilience, our wounds transform into virtues. In the winds of hardship, we ride the waves.”

And just what virtues can resilience transform our wounds into? Linda highlights four that “offer CPR for the soul”:
Compassion, Patience and Perseverance, and Reverence.

The first is COMPASSION, she says. “At this time of social isolation, we need not be alone.” This is an opportunity to gather with “our personal tribe, our true friends, our faith communities” in new ways that modern technology has opened for us, “whether by landline or by virtual on-line meetings.” This is about “companioning. Our greatest need is to buddy up with someone who will companion us, whatever we’re feeling, without judging or advising, willing to simply listen with compassionate curiosity.”

Then there’s PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE. “This time of disrupted and side-lined busyness while remaining at home, is in truth a holy pause, inviting us to slow down into a pace of grace as we endure this situation. Embrace this opportunity to be more introspective. Read, putter, clean and clear, cook mindfully, do creative projects, and find new ways to balance work and play….  A gentle rhythm will bring serenity and joy.”

REVERENCE is about reaching out and reaching up. “Reach out to be of service. Who needs a phone call? Check on folks, especially those living alone. With this abundance of time that has opened up, share yourself. Encourage children to think of ways to help others.”

Reaching up for spiritual help is essential, and that’s not isolated behind walls of temple, church, synagogue or mosque. Right in your own home, “create a routine of reverence to start the day,” Linda says. “Read something inspiring. Pray. Meditate. Have mindful moments throughout the day.”

So, according to Linda, we can view COVID-19 as a transformative time in which, with the fruits of resilience (compassion, patience, perseverance and reverence), we can develop into a better version of ourselves. But this isn’t limited to these four virtues. For a look into the bigger picture, download her free Virtues Cards app,

It’s Linda’s hope that this pause in our lives will help us become, in Gandhi’s words, “the change we wish to see in the world.”


© 2020 Warren Harbeck

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