And so we approach another milestone: the end of the calendar year. Throughout our lives, this has represented many things — a time to celebrate with family and friends, the opportunity to take a few days off from work and the excitement and optimism regarding a new year.
While some of these sentiments are true for 2020, we certainly feel the absence of others. In the midst of a global pandemic, we fought to keep our families, friends, businesses and teams intact and we found resilience when we needed it most. In reflecting upon this year, we must not only acknowledge our setbacks but recognize the incredible opportunities that emerged from the challenges we faced.
With more of us being forced to work from home, we had to find ways to stay connected and build bridges through teleconferencing, asynchronous communication and new collaboration tools. We found ways to express ourselves when body language and vocal emphasis could not convey our message. Overt communication with each other — just checking in — became so important in times where we might be feeling isolated and alone. We should take pride in this transformation and know with confidence that when the bottom drops out of our day-to-day lives, we can quickly respond and adapt.
Celebrating Our Victories
I will look back on this year with a mixed sense of appreciation, awe and resolve. I have immense gratitude for the lives that were spared and respect for the scientific marvels we’re depending on for solutions. Our governments seem empowered to fulfill their responsibilities to keep people safe and employed during this crisis. Our scientific community across the world collaborated to develop a vaccine in record time, with DNA sequenced by China, a formula developed by German and Turkish immigrants and American systems of rapid testing and manufacture and distribution. This gives new meaning to strength in numbers and shows the magnitude of what can be accomplished when we work together.
Creating a Better Tomorrow
While there is a light at the end of the tunnel, we as a company and as a people have a lot left to do. We must re-examine our public health infrastructure, the dissemination of information and how going forward, we can better support one another through good times and bad. We have held the fates of others and their health in our hands and have seen that we’re not only connected through disease, but through the environment, culture and most importantly, through hope.
By recognizing ourselves in each other, we are better equipped for today’s challenges and better prepared for tomorrow’s. We can rise up and address those challenges as a single people, representing the best of our species — the innovation, selflessness, heroism and determination that make our world so extraordinary.
We must remember that COVID-19 is not the only existential threat that we face, it is but the first. When faced with unsurmountable challenges, we witnessed what makes us strong, capable and worthy of the stewardship of this great planet. Let’s honor what we lost and employ what we’ve gained — aspiring to be better together. - Doug Wilson