Krista Tippett: What does a good day look like? This is the question that transformed Atul Gawande’s practice of medicine.
Atul Gawande: The conversation I felt like I was having was, do we fight, or do we give up? And the reality was that it’s not do we fight, or do we give up? It’s what are we fighting for? People have priorities besides just surviving no matter what. You have reasons you want to be alive. What are those reasons? Because whatever you’re living for, along the way, we’ve got to make sure we don’t sacrifice it.On Being with Krista Tippett, Oct. 26, 2017
I’ve spent an entire week and weekend, and I’m not alone in this at all, on the coronavirus (or, COVID-19) and preparing my community for its inevitable spread across Atlanta. It’s true the hysteria has gone viral, spreading faster than the virus itself. There is information and misinformation too out there. There’s calmness, and then there’s fear and anxiety. Since Feb. 28, we have sent out three communications about our contingency preparations to The Children’s School community. The latest communication, which we just sent out a couple hours ago, took us almost three whole days to write it. It’s not what we sent eventually but what we didn’t include in the final draft that took the longest. We don’t want to spread any unnecessary panic or create chaos for our families or faculty. Yet, how do we also take appropriate measures to prevent and be a part of any solution to slow down the spread of the virus? There’s a push/pull here as every leader and community does its best to be responsible stewards and citizens.
This is new territory for everyone and I’m no health expert. It’s my responsibility, however, as it is for all of us that care for and work with the most precious in any community, to remain calm and united. How do we stay grounded right now? What will we hold onto, and what will we not forget? We rely on our values, our purpose, and our personal and professional relationships now more than ever. It’s not what we say and what we do when things are good that define us; it’s our words and actions during these chaotic, uncertain times that are the true measures of our strength and character. This question, then, “What does a good day look like?” is an appropriate one for all of us to stop what we are doing right now and consider with serious intent. What are you fighting for? What are your reasons to be alive? What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?