Gary Tetz

Well, here we go again. 

Within long-term care especially, the shock and discouragement of the delta variant and the havoc it’s wreaking on those we care for and work beside is pervasive and demoralizing. 

Just before writing this, I made the mistake of logging on to Facebook, and the insanity the vaccines and mask mandates are unleashing in otherwise sensible people knocked the wind out of me — again. Disconnecting from social media entirely is a futile antidote to idiocy, but I may have to do it, because my unfriending finger is about worn raw. 

We’ve all been told at some point in our life, by some well-meaning person, while going through some sort of personal crisis, that we’ll be better for this. Maybe they were right, but it’s never what we ever want to hear — and especially not now. 

“The wounded man knows something,” said poet and essayist Robert Bly. That’s not only true, but also small comfort. Most of us at this point would trade everything we’ve learned during the pandemic for a little respite and relief.

Sadly, we don’t get to make that choice. So if I was on a horse right now, riding back and forth in front of my army just before another battle, I’d shout only one word: “Resilience!” 

It would be both an exhortation and a compliment. Because resilience against an unspeakable enemy is what you’ve shown, and it’s resilience that’s going to get you through this, whatever the new “this” turns out to be.

“Resilience is the virtue that enables people to move through hardship and become better,” said Eric Greitens in his excellent book by the same name. “No one escapes pain, fear and suffering. Yet from pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, from suffering can come strength — if we have the virtue of resilience.”

So at the risk of being one of those annoying friends who pops up with a trite aphorism whenever times seem bleakest, we’ll be better for this. We’ll be better for all we’ve endured, and for all the love and patience we show toward those whose misguided pandemic perspectives daily baffle and alarm us. 

“The world breaks everyone,” wrote American novelist Ernest Hemingway, “and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” 

That’s you, our long-term care leaders and staff. Broken, and yet stronger for whatever comes next.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a two-time national Silver Medalist and three-time regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program, as well as an Award of Excellence honoree in the recent APEX 2020 Awards. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a writer and video producer for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.