Guest Op-ed: A Time that Shakes Our Faith

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.

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