Moving through setbacks and adversity with kindness and grace
It has been a slog. Planning (and replanning) an international symposium and service trip in Zimbabwe and South Africa through a global pandemic.
The list of setbacks has been long, and what we’ve experienced reflects just a sliver of the direct impacts on the people themselves:
Major hotel goes into receivership, causing reservations to go down the drain.
Alternative accommodation damaged by a massive flood.
Air carrier goes into bankruptcy requiring last-minute rebookings on several flights for 15+ travelers.
Massive economic turmoil guts Symposium sponsorships. You get the idea.
As we are nearing the finish line (which is actually a new start line for this work), I have been reflecting on what has kept all of us going. Certainly, our shared mission to alleviate human suffering, support mental health education and build personal and community resilience has been a driver. But there is more.
Continue to give yourself and others grace, and lots of it
A recent conversation with one of our nonprofit partners (while I was noticeably recovering from some respiratory effects of Covid) brought it to the surface.
He said, “I’m noticing many people with track records of innovating, moving the mission forward, and creating impact showing less enthusiasm and energy right now. Some of this might be physical impacts from Covid or upended wellness routines. But I think even more of it is the mental and emotional toll of what’s going on. Entire sectors are groaning under the weight of increasing caseloads and mental health issues. I’ve been saying to my team, ‘even if you’re used to putting in 10-hour days, this might not be where you are now. Maybe you’re at a point of working just 2 hours in the morning and another 2 in the afternoon, and that’s OK.’ The same is true for you – just do what you can and rest as you need.”
The takeaway lesson: Give grace. To others. To yourself. Be kind.
Kindness has been the glue. However long the list of setbacks and adversity we have faced over the past couple of years, the list of times we have extended grace and chosen kindness has been even longer. This is what has lightened the load and allowed us all to stay the course, together.