Finding community in these unsettling times

When I launched Voices of April earlier this month, I honestly had no idea what the outcome would look like.

But here we are, already at the end of the month with a total of 17 blog posts that have captured our attention and connected us in many different ways. Pretty sweet.

Thanks to contributions from friends and family in five states and on both coasts, we’ve been treated to beautifully written pieces that have opened our minds, touched our hearts, made us happy or made us sad.

We’ve read about personal setbacks centered around layoffs, health scares and general anxieties brought on by the coronavirus. We’ve read about personal triumphs, too, as in becoming a new homeowner or taking up a new hobby or completing a household project.

We’ve shared our fears and our doubts, reflected on our faith in a higher being and/or each other, and paused to appreciate these extraordinary, historic times we are living through, whether alone or together.

All these stories make up a tapestry of personal testimonies as to what we were doing, thinking and feeling during the early weeks of this global pandemic that has upended life as we know it. Schools and businesses are shuttered, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and now some states are taking the first steps toward reopening their economy, even as the public health experts warn us that it may be too soon.

To those of you who stepped forward with an essay for all of us to read and reflect upon, I thank you. That goes double for first-time contributors Wendy Alexander, Luisa Anderson, John Enders and Jamie Lynn Rede.

To those of you who followed along each day and left comments for the authors, I thank you as well. There is nothing any of us appreciates more than having someone else take the time to share a thought or offer a simple thank-you.

As the curator of this guest blog project, I hope you appreciate the sense of community that is created through this process of letting down our guards and letting the words flow. We often discover what we have in common — as well as what we don’t. We may find validation in what we are feeling or we may learn something from another person’s perspective.

Either way, it’s a win.

Voices of August is just four months away. I’m already looking forward to hosting another round of some of the best writing on the internet.

In the meantime, anyone up for a Zoom meeting to celebrate #VOApril? You can say so in a reply to this post — or on Facebook.

— George Rede

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