Hope amidst heartbreak


Courtesy of Rhonda Findling

Rhonda Findling is the MESA and Second Chance Counselor/Program Coordinator at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Rhonda Findling, MESA and Second Chance Counselor/Program Coordinator, SRJC

I listen to the heartbreaking stories of many of my students – those who lost jobs, who don’t have adequate tech skills to do online classes, who have children at home, which creates unmanageable stress and inability to focus on school, those who do not have enough food to eat, or a place to study away from campus or even a safe place to sleep at night — and, in the midst of so much anxiety and uncertainty, are trying to navigate applying for help and accessing resources — all from remote platforms. Some are giving up on everything, or in such a demoralized state from grief and overwhelming feelings that they cannot cope.  Gratitude is a hard thing to feel during this pandemic, but I will say that the privilege of having a home and a family and a job makes me feel immense gratitude. I also feel gratitude for all the healthcare workers, food growers, grocery workers, and others putting their lives at risk right now.

Mixed with the gratitude is the anguish and despair for the future due to having a nightmare of a federal administration that does not put the interests of human lives above financial gain… and is corrupt, deceitful, inept and destructive, with a psychopathic individual in charge who does not listen to scientists. In truth, I fear the election more than the virus. The virus crisis will eventually end, but our very survival is now hanging in the balance in the event we do not have decent, ethical, competent and honest leadership going forward.

My hope is that we, as a human race, learn from this, and my fear is that we won’t. I pray we learn that capitalism and profit-driven economies are destructive to humans, animals and the entire planet. The capitalistic fracturing of our health care system is now on full display showing it’s inadequate ability to address this pandemic. I yearn for a world that is slower and more humane, where respect for the environment and the destructive consequences of climate change are taken seriously, where addressing inequities is a priority, where we find better ways to handle crime and addiction (e.g. preventative healing/treatment/safety nets/restorative justice), than throwing human beings (who are now COVID sitting-ducks) in cages, and where quality healthcare and education are equally accessible for all. Without hope and change, we are doomed, so let’s all commit to making positive changes for our future…for our children, our environment, and our very humanity.