To The Herald-Whig:

It is easy to feel thankless this holiday, as COVID-19 hangs over the region, like a sinister, slow moving superstorm.

But only if you let it make you feel that way.

Instead, I propose you not allow the virus to steal your joy of being alive, nor take from you the gifts of hope and optimism. Instead mask up, social distance, wash your hands and celebrate what you have and what you have to look forward to in a safe way.

It’s been said a million times because it is true: Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Believe that better days are ahead. There always have been.

Since Blessing Hospital opened in 1875, there have been no fewer than 20 declared epidemics in the United States, caused by yellow fever, diphtheria, typhoid, smallpox, cholera, malaria, six different types of flu, polio, measles and HIV.

Most people today have no idea some of those diseases ever existed because we worked together and got them under control. Working together, we will get COVID-19 under control.

We are blessed with skilled, compassionate and dedicated health care providers serving in hospitals, health departments, clinics and nursing homes throughout the area. They have worked tirelessly since late March to help control the pandemic and will continue to do what is necessary until you are safe because that is their chosen purpose in this life. Blessing Health System joins all providers in committing its resources to support those on the front lines of care in doing what must be done. That is something each of us can and should celebrate.

Celebrate that you have the power to protect yourself and everyone around you. Then do it. During most of the epidemics I talked about earlier, there was no internet or 24-hour news cycle. Viruses spread much faster than information. We are blessed to live in a different age. We know how to protect ourselves. That is something each of us can and should celebrate and exercise.

We are at a crossroads. We can grieve what we believe COVID-19 has taken from us this holiday season, or use the spirit of this season as the spark to propel us to do all we can to reach the better days that we know lie ahead.

I know what I choose. Please join me.

Maureen Kahn

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