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May 26

2020 - The Year of Adaptation

Posted on May 26, 2020 at 9:28 AM by Melinda Mayo

It was during our ninth or 10th virtual church service this Sunday that I got the idea for this week’s post.  As the pastor started his sermon, he noted that the battery for the camera they were using to broadcast live via Facebook had only 38% battery left. He cautioned that we may lose the video feed midway through the service, but that we would just adapt if so, as the audio would continue.

Adaptation seems to be the order of the day for much of 2020.  Businesses have adapted to retain customers; people have adapted to working from home, others working in riskier settings; teachers, children, and parents have adapted to conducting school from kitchen tables and living room couches; side streets have been adapted for use as outdoor dining rooms; and the City has adapted how we continue to provide essential services with $10 million less in revenue than anticipated.

Moved Into Action

The speed of these adaptations has been phenomenal, and it will be interesting to see how many of them become part of the next normal.  I have seen people adapt to be more concerned about the fate of their favorite local restaurant or the elderly neighbor down the street.  I have observed patience and grace extended when previously it may not have been.  By taking advantage of livestreaming, it is reported that more people are participating in religious services than when churches meet in person.  More people are providing donations of supplies and money to help those in our community in need.  Artists have adapted how they reach audiences, and non-profits have adapted how they work together to deliver food, ensure medical care continues, and address a whole host of other concerns.

Struggling with Change

Of course, not all have adapted well.  Sadly, the amount of substance and alcohol abuse appears to be on the rise in our community, along with overdoses.  Each, no doubt, a consequence of isolation and the inability to adapt to a rapidly changing world.  We have all seen the news stories of those unable or unwilling to adapt, whether it be protests against restrictions intended to protect the health of our communities or refusals to abide by these same guidelines.

More to Come

Our time of adaptation is likely far from over.  We are just beginning to determine what might be next as businesses reopen and life proceeds toward our next normal.  Little will be as it was before COVID arrived, at least for quite some time.  How well we continue to adapt will likely determine how healthy we and our families remain, how successful our businesses and communities will be, and how quickly we can regain the momentum we had prior to the virus.  Near-term, this adaptation likely requires greater patience, greater grace for those around us, acceptance of diminished public services, and yes, even the continuation of physical distancing and the wearing of face covers.  

Perhaps through thoughtful and consistent adaptation in 2020, our 2021 will return some level of normalcy back to our lives and an ability to embrace a future of opportunity, versus one of fear and limitations.

— Bob Cowell


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