Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Woodburn author encourages readers to embrace 2021 amidst the pandemic as a year of opportunity.

Last night I had a good night's rest and here I am, in the morning feeling great and ready to face the day. Lying there just relaxing and thinking of how I would spend my day, I was suddenly interrupted by my alarm clock, my radio. It brought the news of the day but caught my attention with what I preferred not to have heard. It was a medical doctor sharing that recently his partner — a medical worker who had cared for COVID-19 patients — chose to take her own life. My heart cried hearing this. And I wondered what else she could have done instead of taking her own life.

COURTESY PHOTO - Ewart F. Brown, Woodburn Independent - Opinion  Friendly-connected-isolation & COVID-19 Dear reader, I am aware that life in this age is a challenge to all of us, in different ways. And many of us have no way out or we think there is no way out. But when I thought of that medical worker who took her life, I thought there must have been a way out, an alternative to her taking her life. And I am suggesting that, yes, there is an alternative. Regardless of what situations are closing us in, there is a way out, there is an alternative.

For this reason, I am writing to us all. I want to assure you that the pandemic is not the only thing in this life. The pandemic is not the beginning nor the end. It is only a participant on the journey of life. It came and it will go is my conviction. And soon we will be talking about when it was and how it was. Please let us see this to be our hopeful desire.

Until then, please allow me to present what I call the Pandemic Alternatives. I am telling you that life is a precious thing/gift and one does not have to take it away. It is valuable and useful. And someone cares and loves you and there are alternatives. What is also true is this — the pandemic does not have to hurt us nor be our enemy. It can be an opportunity and our friend. Alternatives can be opportunities. So let us look at the pandemic with its alternatives and opportunities.

Whichever ways we are affected by this pandemic, there are opportunities to live the alternatives, such as the following;

Be creative — we can work with it or around it. We can find another way to live, even if we have never lived this way before. This can bring from within us what we never knew existed and this could bring us productivity, surprises and excitement. Sometimes we are surprised by how creative we can be, when we allow our minds to work a little harder and outside the box. Now that my travel routine is restricted, I am at home writing, preparing and doing what had long been neglected. And I love this. Wow!

To spend more time — While the pandemic is asking us to isolate, it is also giving us opportunities to spend more time with relatives, friends and ourselves, physically or technologically. We can be intentional in making contacts with them for they need us more than before. When we spend time to connect with them, it feeds them and in return, feeds us. We are all fed and this is a good thing.

To be supportive — This might be the time when a relative or friend, needs more than our presence. What might be needed is a helping hand to move a few heavy items, to do an electrical deed, fix a broken irrigation system, just a little "Kindniceness." It is amazing how many of us have small chores at home which need another hand to fix. You might be the one, the fixer, and this is the time.

To be a listener — Our earlier lives have been so busy and rushed that we had little time for others and surely little time to listen to their hearts, to listen to what is really bothering them. Now more than ever before, we are longing for ears to hear our stories. We care less about having answers. We care more about being heard and understood. We just want to talk and have you listen without being judgmental. Don't worry about being right, just listen to us, to hear what our hearts are feeling and saying.

To be an encourager — There are enough reasons to be negative, pessimistic, devastated and broken. It is almost natural for us to complain, to dwell on the darkness, but please, please, while you are trying to understand, don't join us in the mud hole. Try to help us out of this. Please bring us something that will cheer our spirits. Tell us stories that are like music to our ears. Lift us out of our mud holes. Remind us that after the sunset, there will be a sunrise. Heal our wounds with laughter. Cause us to feel better, now that we are together and even when we are gone from one another. Thank you.

To be dependent — Many of us live as if we can do everything for ourselves. And this might be true for some. But for others and most of us, we need one another. We need to be connected for we are wired to connect. This is why we will call or connect with someone we might not have connected with in recent time. And please let us consider it a privilege when we are invited to give a helping hand. Let us ask for favors and do things for one another. For doing is caring, connecting and bonding.

To pray/connect — My lifestyle makes room for praying. Others have alternative connections. Whatever our choice, this is the time to reach out from ourselves. The pandemic and its consequences have manufactured situations bigger than we can handle by ourselves. Those of us who have reached out from ourselves to a higher power, have often found comfort and direction. I can tell you that this reaching out does work for me and it will work for you also.

These are just a few alternatives that could work in our favor as we travel through this pandemic maze. Surely, we will find others as we engage our creative minds. And as we find them, please use them and share them with others.

Dear reader, 2021 is the year of opportunity and alternative living. And it is my intention to share a little piece of my heart with you, about how together we can face this year and the future. I am inviting you to view the pandemic, not as the controller of our lives, not the end of our lives, but view it as a participant on our life's journey, which will empower us to find alternatives and live alternatively, the best we can. The pandemic, viewed and lived as I have pictured it, could become our friend and not our enemy. Therefore, why not let us live in hope, patience and positivity, while being "Kindnice" to everyone we encounter? I promise you, the rewards will be worth it. I hope to meet you around the bend, or at the end of the tunnel. So, please keep walking, neighbors.

— Ewart Brown is an author, motivation speaker and retired minister who lives in Woodburn.

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