Message From the Chancellor (COVID-19 April 22, 2020 5:30 p.m.)
Happy 50th Earth Day
Dear Texas Woman’s Community,
I hope this message finds you well as we celebrate the 50th Earth Day—flowers for the occasion.
Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, we have had many reminders of connection and interdependence even though distanced by geography, language, culture, and the like. I have often heard that we are all in “the same boat” (i.e., on Planet Earth), but in a recent unattributed meditation that a colleague sent me, “the same boat” may be a problematic metaphor.
WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT ...
I heard that we are in the same boat. But it's not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.
Your ship can be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa. For some, quarantine is optimal: a moment of reflection, of re-connection. Easy, in flip flops, with an iced tea.
For all, this is a desperate crisis. For some, it is facing loneliness. For others, peace, rest time, vacation.
Yet for others, Torture: How am I going to pay my bills? What room is my abuser lying in wait?
Some were concerned about a brand of chocolate for Easter.
Others were concerned about bread for the weekend, or if the noodles would last for a few more days.
Some were in their "home office".
Others are looking through trash to survive.
Some want to go back to work because they are running out of money.
Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.
Some need to break the quarantine to stand in line at the banks and stores. Others to escape.
Others criticize the government for the lines.
Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it, some are not sure their loved ones are going to make it, and some don't even believe this is a big deal.
Some of us who are well now may end up experiencing it, and some believe they are infallible and will be blown away if or when this hits someone they know.
Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020.
Others say the worse is yet to come.
So, friends, we are not in the same boat.
We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. And each one will emerge, in his own way, from that storm.
Some with a tan from their pool. Others with scars on the soul (for invisible reasons).
It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, more than looking, seeing.
Do not judge the good life of the other, do not condemn the bad life of the other. Don't be a judge. Let us not judge the one who lacks, as well as the one who exceeds him.
We are on different ships looking to survive. Let everyone navigate their route with respect, empathy, and responsibility.
~ Unknown author
I believe this meditation reflects many stories and thoughts that members of the Texas Woman’s community have sent me. Though an apt metaphor, it is not a new idea. You all continue to inspire me by your expressions of “respect, empathy, and responsibility.”
I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming days. For now, I will leave you with some of Earth’s beauty.
Today, among all days, I will be particularly mindful to also treat the Earth with respect, empathy, and responsibility.
With a pioneering spirit,
Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President
P.S. For the latest information, check out the TWU COVID-19 webpage.
Page last updated 8:49 AM, April 23, 2020