A time like this reminds us forcefully that there are some things we can and should control, and other things we cannot control that we have to accept or let go with equanimity if we are not to drive ourselves crazy. Reinhold Niebuhr captured this well in his Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

These are not fixed categories — one of the gifts of the coronavirus has been ordinary people in business and communities finding they can do extraordinary things in a short time. Many have enlarged their “circle of influence” to be nearer their “circle of concern”, to use author Stephen Covey’s terms. Maybe a lasting benefit from this testing time will be ordinary people discovering their extraordinary capacity for compassion, and their ability to organise and get things done to make a difference to the world around them. May this survive the pandemic!..

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