Dear CIROS #8

Entering my neighborhood reminds me of the hope and solidarity that came with this crisis.

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Dear Writer #7,

Thank you for your letter! You asked what keeps me hopeful in this extraordinary time. Although it is sometimes difficult to realize, I believe beautiful things are happening in our societies at the moment. In the small town I’m living in, many people are showing the most beautiful signs of solidarity that I’ve ever seen in my life before. Children have decorated the streets with sidewalk chalk, people are doing groceries for the most vulnerable among us, and the postman is busier than ever. And these are only three small examples of everything that came as a blessing in the last couple of weeks.

Entering my neighborhood reminds me of the hope and solidarity that came with this crisis. When I pass my church, a place I used to visit at least once a week to have a moment of reflection (which is often quite rare in my busy everyday life) and to meet friends, I now see a huge banner that says ‘houd moed, heb lief’ which I would translate as ‘take heart and love’. For me, this banner stands for what really matters now: keeping hope alive and taking care of each other in the meantime. How do you try to do this?

But despite all hope and solidarity, those feelings of anxiety and stress I’ve read about in previous letters are not entirely strange to me. I too worry about the health of my family, whether or not there will be a second peak of the virus, and how our studies will continue. It’s heartbreaking to see that so many people, all over the world, are now in uncertainty about both their health and their jobs.

However, this is all the more reason why ‘take heart and love’ is still so inspiring to me, if only because we do not have much of a choice.  

I hope that you are all doing well and I’m looking forward to the next letter!

— Rik, writing from the Netherlands