By Mayor Brian M. Arrigo
We stand like weary soldiers. We are frightened and tired. We are saddened by the growing number of casualties. We endure, strengthened by our passion for survival and ultimate victory.
Where do we find that strength?
Our strength grows from faith. Faith is a trust in something. It is a loyalty to each other, unspoken and unseen, but real though independent of proof. Faith nourishes us. It is universal and takes as many forms as there are people.
And yet, in times like this, it is easy to understand if our faith is shaken. Our lives are disrupted, we are separated from family and friends, and too many of our neighbors have succumbed to Covid-19, this uncompromising assailant that has raided our world.
Faith? Faith in what?
My answer, my message to our community is: faith in ourselves. Faith in ourselves may derive from religious doctrine, or basic self-confidence, or in ritual and routine. It can be the faith in a higher power or a force greater than humanity itself. It can be manifested in the abiding belief that we will rise up and overcome this plague, just as humankind has persisted and prevailed throughout history.
Perhaps by coincidence, we enter what are predicted to be the most challenging days of this pandemic during the time that the Christian world observes Holy Week, the solemn time of devotion and prayer preceding Jesus’s crucifixion. Also, our Jewish brothers and sisters observe the eight-day festival of Passover, when their forebears were liberated from the chains of slavery.
In these religious observations, our friends reflect on dark days, when faith was shaken, but never broken. And those religious observations ultimately celebrate the rewards of their faith.
The times we face today compare with the dark times of history when faith was shaken. Regardless whether any of us practice formal religion, we can—we must—find a refuge in faith. Faith in our medical community and all those who confront Covid-19 daily and fight back against its spread. Faith that our science will discover the antidote to Covid-19. Faith that the preventative steps all of us are taking will slow and eventually reverse the virus’s upward trend.
Like soldiers in a battle, every one of us has a role, and no role is unimportant. The person who stays home in self-quarantine is as important as the care provider treating a patient. The essential business operator who implements strict social-distancing requirements in the workplace is just as important as the pharmaceutical researchers toiling in a laboratory. The volunteers who serve the needy are as important as the neighbors who make a simple telephone call to check in on a friend. Every one of these is an act of faith, an act that we believe will yield positive results.
It is understandable to feel overwhelmed. Right now, and for the next couple of weeks, we must brace ourselves for more disturbing news and numbers.
But, like the soldier who endures and carries out the mission, we must carry on also, toward survival and victory. Let us not be consumed by despair, but instead let us be strengthened by faith.
I have faith in our community, and in our unified effort to protect ourselves and each other. I have faith that we will get through this, and be a stronger and closer community in the end.
This is a time of faith. It might be shaken. It will not be broken.Brian Arrigo is the Mayor of the City of Revere.