Despite ‘dark’ pandemic, Town ‘can see the stars’
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson’s deduction exemplifies how our young hometown has faced its greatest challenge — a coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past months, I’ve seen this virus bring loss to Farragut residents. While driving to work, I felt abandonment as I passed by one vacant business after another. Along the drive, empty parks and greenways and deserted churches and schools seemed to yearn for the Town residents who once occupied them. On my way home from excruciating days at the office, I would stop by Costco.
It was surreal to coil through snake-like lines flanked by wooden pallets and hunt through consolidated inventory hoping to score the few items my wife requested.
After dinners with my family, I read social media posts, which mostly conveyed losses from canceled birthday parties, graduations, proms and sporting events, and relished a new type of drive-by celebration and self-deprecating TikTok videos. Before bed, I often found myself scouring through cable news reports on astonishing virus death tolls; over-the-top, non-essential employee lay-offs; and contradictory information on a novel virus that still has insufficient data from which public health experts can opine.
This virus has been dark enough to steal our sense of normal. It has also been dark enough to see stars.
Residents waiting in line for hours to donate to an employee fundraiser; families talking and laughing as they walk through neighborhoods without cell phones in front of their faces; residents sharing highly coveted necessities; teens (for whom there has been historically little expectation) bringing elderly residents groceries and mowing their yards; children creating new works for art from discarded craft materials for overly stressed mothers; business owners taking substantial pay cuts so employees could still earn a paycheck; listening to my girls at reinstated nightly dinners; and every night dreaming of a brighter future with the love of my life, Melissa; are all stars that will burn in my memory for the rest of my life.
These stars would have gone unseen without the dark, and they demonstrate the virtue on which the Town of Farragut was founded — Character.
I wish I had a crystal ball that reveals whether the dark will subside or increase in the coming weeks, but I don’t. I do know our Creator is in control of our future, which brings a Peace that surpasses understanding.
I also know Character shines brightest in the darkest of skies. Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” I believe Miss Keller was right.
God bless and keep each Farragut resident in thoughts and prayers. God bless our hometown.