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COVID-19 means things will never be the same. March Madness has for many become March Sadness.


Most serious are those who will be afflicted with grave illness, even loss of loved ones. We’re testing the capacity of our modern healthcare system like no other time. We’re seeing how tightly interconnected global financial markets are, from effects on the stock market and oil futures, all the way to Main Street and school gymnasiums.


It looks as though those most fragile — economically and physically — may take the brunt.


The inadvertent emergence of this virus and its subsequent propagation around the globe reveal how small and interconnected our world has become. The proverbial butterfly flapped its wings somewhere in an inner province of faraway China and it spawned a hurricane on the whole world. Though by all analysis this appears to be inadvertent and unintended, it’s easier now to imagine worse and even sinister scenarios.


If one looks to fuel and feed anxiety, frustration, anger, criticism and blame, those things are easily within earshot. Just turn on any cable opinion/news channel, open up social media feeds; you will plenty of shouting and finger pointing.


Albeit, some of that may be deserved, but much of it simply results from what social psychologists call a "VUCA" environment, a natural consequence of important matters being volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous.


With so much changing so fast, and seemingly so little under our control, pointing at others, even if well deserved, likely won’t serve us. Maybe better advice is that we each take stock of ourselves.


In times of crisis, it’s natural that we all look to leaders. Fortunately, each of us has the opportunity to lead, to rescue, even to be a hero.


Responsibility: Consider the word; the ability to choose a response. No, it doesn’t mean culpability. No one in Kansas is culpable for this outbreak, but each of us can be responsible — to ourselves, others, our communities, even to our now much smaller and more interconnected world.


The week’s events have given us the opportunity to be better. We all know someone who has been (or will soon be) hurt by these events. Some will lose their health, maybe even a loved one. Some will lose part of their fortunes, maybe all of their income. Some will lose sleep, or maybe the ability to run necessary family errands. Some will be so busy working in our public health and health care system taking care of us that they can’t adequately consider their own health and well-being.


With schools closed, thousands will lose a safe place for their children. Shut-ins will lose much-needed human contact. Some will lose their nerve and confidence.


Wisdom says, "It’s not what happens to us that determines our destiny, but how we respond to what happens to us."


So, let COVID-19 turn you into a hero. Why not twist the awfulness of these events into something better for our world? Let’s all be responsible.