Resiliency is something we know well here in Jeff Davis Parish. With many of our workforce in oil-related jobs and agriculture, we are used to cyclical highs and lows. We have become accustomed to hurricanes and floods wreaking havoc on our lives every few years. Resiliency is something rooted deep in our ancestry, back to the original people who lived on this land and everyone who moved in after. So why does this current pandemic feel so unsettling?
In the past, when disasters beyond our control occurred, we were able to mobilize into action. There was no problem that couldn’t be fixed by cooking, sending out boats, re-building, or some other physical show of support. This situation is different – our call to action is to stay at home. Meanwhile, we watch as others on the front line are being asked to sacrifice their comfort and possibly put their lives at risk. When I asked staff at Jeff Davis Parish Library to share their thoughts on our current predicament, a common theme appeared: guilt.
Here we are enjoying time with our families while others are making sacrifices. It says a lot about our community that we DO feel guilt, that we DO actually care about the welfare of all. I’ve seen a lot of creative ways that people have found to help, some good and some bad, but I’d like to issue a challenging statement: Live in this moment and JUST BE. Sounds like hippie meditation stuff, I know, but it’s harder (and more rewarding) than it sounds. Focus on your loved ones right now. Focus on yourself and becoming more resilient in the future so those who depend on you can survive whatever comes your way.
That’s what our library staff have been doing. In between baking cookies, gardening, and long family walks, we have been learning new skills. Excel, Google Suite, Canva, creating online videos, vector graphics, Office 365 – these are just a few of the skills our staff are learning during this time. Our role as librarians is to encourage learning and personal growth; we are doing that for ourselves now so we can be better prepared to do that once our doors reopen.
If you know someone on the front lines and can do something to help, great! If not, don’t waste your time feeling guilty and seeking projects to fix things. Embrace this time as a rare moment to recharge, reflect, and plan for a better future. The people on the front lines and those who have lost jobs are going to need us once this quarantine is over, so let’s prepare for that.