Hope in the midst of suffering…
I ran across that quote on a billboard when driving last week, and it seemed to resonate for me once I got through questioning how those two words made sense in the same sentence. Hope and suffering, two simple words, each with its own meaning, but when used together can be incredibly prophetic in making the difference between looking forward to tomorrow or staying stuck in today.
There is no doubt that everyone’s suffering is unique, even if we have suffered from the same cause, but there is one thing that we all share, and that is the innate need to look forward, to plan, and to have hope. For someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, the need for hope that they will experience being loved and desired again is paramount to living for tomorrow. For those who have been traumatized by losing their job, having hope and belief that they will be hired again is critical to a sense of identity. And while many of us in the travel industry were fearful that our livelihood was evaporating, we seek hope that we will have the energy and ability to pick up the pieces and do it again. If we are going to overcome our personal suffering, we desperately need hope that things will get better, and this will not be the defining moment that ends our story, but rather, the moment that provides it new meaning.
Our ability to withstand our suffering in the present is linked to our belief in change tomorrow. I do not disregard how much everyone has endured and know that I cannot possibly understand each person’s own story of suffering. Even though our individual circumstances might be different, belief in ourselves and commitment to rebuilding is something we all need to lock arms around together. For me, there is no doubt that our ability to manage through our suffering today impacts our potential for happiness tomorrow.
My goal in these writings has always been to provide hope and inspiration through my very personal and honest story that I believed would make a difference for many of you. Who could have imagined that one year later, we would still be suffering in ways that none of us could have predicted, enduring the slow death of our industry and business?
Over the last few weeks my wife and I have had some very candid, emotional, and serious discussions about the future of the travel industry. As many of you know, I and our team have put our hearts and souls into rebuilding our company with the foundation of honoring my father. In the last four years, I have personally invested more than any financial advisor would recommend and put in over 10,000 hours in addition to traveling to 20 countries to ensure we would rebuild our reputation in a way that would make my father, our team, and families proud. 2020 arrived and we were on our way. Then Covid hit! To say that the wind was taken out of our sail does not begin to describe the emotional letdown I felt over the months, and I say that with no disrespect to the millions around the world who have suffered greater losses than mine. It has been a tough time emotionally, for us, for you, for the world, and I began questioning more each day that passed, if emotionally, I could do it all over again.
Soon after that conversation, I decided to go for a bike ride along the ocean, which has always been a source of inspiration for me. As I was looking down at my bell, something about this image captured me, the way the rust took over half of it, but also realizing it was only because it had the benefit of being by the ocean, and then the reflection of the clouds off the shiny top with the ocean right behind it, reminded me of a Shakespearean phrase, “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Simple reminder that we all must suffer through the ebb and flow of life, so what is the point in feeling hopeless when things go wrong, we are living life on life’s terms, and must always remember that hope is just around the corner.
Today is a day for hope to spring from “self-isolation.” I do not claim to have found a final answer to the question of suffering, especially the anguish caused by a global pandemic, nor am I inclined to downplay in any way the enormity of pain and suffering that it caused, with 500,000 souls having perished in our country and millions more around the world. I would easily admit that the sense of loss caused by the virus and related difficulties that impacted so many of our lives are beyond any words, however, there is always hope, and the power that comes from it is closer than you think.
Stay tuned and get ready my friends…
The best is yet to come!
IWorld of Travel
An Ady Gelber Legacy Company.
P: 212.507.9204 M:916.835.6499