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Hope is what tomorrow is for

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

"Tomorrow, robins will sing."

Stevie Wonder

"Tomorrow there'll be sunshine, and all this darkness past."

Bruce Springsteen

"Hurry, tomorrow. Tomorrow, I need you now."

The Temptations

 

In other words, tomorrow is the place where things will get better. Tomorrow is where everything turns out all right. It is in America's national character to believe that, to build hope upon it.

And hope, in the era of the coronavirus, is a commodity more precious than gold.

If 2020 is anything like 2017, the last year for which CDC statistics are available, more than 47,000 of us will die by suicide. Last month, a 49-year-old doctor named Lorna Breen became one of them. She was, according to family and friends, an outgoing and energetic woman, a lover of salsa and snowboarding, an accomplished cellist, the life of every party, including the one she threw annually on the roof deck of her home in Manhattan. She was also a woman of deep Christian faith and, as such, was likely aware of an admonition from Jesus in the Book of Matthew: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

But it's hard not to wonder about tomorrow when you are, like Dr. Breen, fighting on the front lines of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Family members say Breen, medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, told them about hellish conditions: 18-hour shifts, doctors sleeping in hallways, ambulances stacked up, death rising inexorably as floodwaters.

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