“It’s gonna be a long, long journey
It’s gonna be an uphill climb
It’s gonna be a tough fight
But I’m ready to carry on
I’m so glad the worst is over
Because it almost took me out
I can start living now
I feel like I can do anything
And finally I’m not afraid to breathe.” The Living Proof by Mary J Blige.
Good morning, everyone.
I listen to this very inspirational song whenever I need a powerful reminder that despite hard, daunting challenges, I can still carry on with the business of living my best life. I find it relevant now, given the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday that he’s finally reopening the public service and retail businesses after the prolonged, devastating national shutdown.
While this is very welcome news which I lobbied for, I know many citizens are very anxious as to what they will be returning to. Indeed, this is a normal reaction to the traumatic change that our nation and world have undergone in the past three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was unprecedented, unexpected and very overwhelming.
It threatened our health, lifestyles and livelihoods, especially due to the equally unprecedented hunger and economic crisis that it brought upon T&T. Many citizens lost their jobs and incomes, and endured serious mental and emotional trauma. Naturally, then, we are still facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty as we prepare to return to a ‘new normal’.
Work will be very different under the strict health and physical distancing regulations in place, as well as the new technological methods of carrying out our tasks and functions. Many small and medium term businesses may also be reopening to harsh financial fallouts, some even to the point of closure. However, I’m urging everyone to please not surrender to fear and anxiety.
Commit to taking up these new, admittedly very difficult, challenges with faith, diligence and a determination to succeed against all odds. It is, after all, the only thing we can do to survive this dark period. I am very confident that with hard work, commitment and dedication, we will all succeed in the crucial task of rebuilding our lives and nation in every way.
And if you are worried that perhaps you simply don’t have what it takes to make it in this new, strange post Covid-19 world, then simply take courage in the fact that we have been able to get through the worst of this pandemic thus far. When called on to do it at a mere moment’s notice, you, the amazing people of T&T, obeyed all the ‘stay at home’ regulations with discipline and patriotic commitment to doing what was right in the interest your fellow citizens.
You heroically sacrificed your comforts, incomes, social pleasures, and in the case of essential workers, even risked your health, to ensure that our country survived this crisis. When the Government failed to provide the long promised social and financial relief to desperate and suffering citizens, you, the people, stepped in to help feed them.
For this heroic show of compassion, discipline and patriotism when our nation most needed it, I say to the people of T&T, you are an inspiration, and I am privileged and honoured to serve you. So when I say now that we will successfully survive this next stage of this crisis, know that it’s because we have already gotten through the worst of it. Indeed, as Mary J Blige says:
“Nothing ‘bout my life’s been easy
But nothing’s gonna keep me down
Cos I know a lot more today
And I know yesterday
So I’m ready to carry on
So many don’t survive
They just don’t make it through
But look at me
I’m the living proof.”
So keep the faith, take heart and May God bless and keep us in His Infinite Grace, always.