The above heading is an excerpt from the well-known Prayer of St. Francis – a prayer that was heavily publicized and distributed during the troublesome times of World War I and World War II, and cited by religious and political leaders throughout the years. As a wayward Catholic and product of the “Me” generation, I’ve often meditated on the prayer to help me become less self-centered and more caring of others. Lately, it has helped guide me while struggling to comprehend the pandemic and deal with these difficult times. However, these are worrisome times for everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable such as older adults or those with preexisting health problems. Combined with the millions who are struggling to make ends meet or who are unemployed, most people are dealing with varying degrees of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair.

Regardless of our current circumstances and challenges, we all possess our own unique means to persevere. As one of the most adaptable, longest living species on earth, we humans wouldn’t be here otherwise! Your endurance might not be as heroic as climbing Mt. Everest, but it’s just as inspirational. I’m thinking about those who have lost loved ones but carry on despite the emptiness and heartache, or those that are courageously battling a chronic disease, mental illness, or disability and continue to wake up each morning to take on the day. I’m also thinking about our younger generation who face enormous uncertainty about their future but will find ways to adapt and thrive. These are stories of resilience that are most common to us and that can offer hope to others.

As a way for you and future generations to try and make sense of our current situation, I’m putting my documentarian skills to work again. Through either your written submissions, video/voice recordings, artwork, or photographic images, I would like to document how my community is coping during the pandemic. As publisher of the Be Resilient Project and longtime resident of Davis, I’d like to know how you’re holding up and where you are finding hope during these difficult times? In other words, what are your Stories of Resilience?

Here are other questions to reflect on if needed: What sort of lifestyle changes have you made that are helping you cope? What are some of the biggest challenges you’re having to face and what are you doing to overcome them? Is there someone or something that is giving you a sense of purpose to wake up each morning to take on the day? What are you most hoping to do when it’s safe to gather with people again?

What you write, record, or create as a reflection of this past year could give you some peace of mind, but also help others comprehend what we’re collectively feeling as a community. Historians will definitely learn from and appreciate your personal stories of what took place in 2020. My hope is that you will learn something about your own perseverance during a year that none of us will ever forget.

Stories of Resilience Submissions

Each link below represents a written submission from our members describing how they coped during the first year of the COVID pandemic.