I am nothing if not inconsistent and that’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while. Despite having all the time in the world like most of you (except the front line and essential workers), I have yet to master my plan.


While struggling to manage this abundance of time that I never dreamed I would get unless and until I self- quarantined for clinical reasons, I’ve discovered a plethora of personal failings, monumental weaknesses, amazing resourcefulness and grateful, sad and happy moments.


Here is what finally dawned on me during this gargantuan transition into the new world:


Every time I see or hear the phrase “We’re all in this together,” I know that fundamentally and even intellectually, we are not. What this crisis has done is merely stopped us in our tracks and forced us to at least try to accept that nothing will ever be the same but more importantly, what will we do with this second chance?


How will we manage to gently consolidate fear, caution, common sense, joy, sorrow and empathy while simultaneously shoving boredom aside to create a better perspective? From now on, when a parent replies to a whining child with the historical retort: “We’ll see” they will mean it from their core.


In the quiet of nearly every night I apologize softly to my parents and anyone else “up there” who might have an “in” with the miracle workers I grew up believing in. I make deals, offer up prayers and vow that tomorrow will be better because I’ll have a plan. So far the deaf ears are prevailing but I haven’t lost that “never give up” attitude yet!


— Karen Balice-≠Gregory is a trustee of the Ionia Public Schools Board of Education and can be contacted at kgregory@ioniaschools.org.