Goodrum: In difficult times, hope lifts us up


A year ago, who would have imiagined we’d be in the middle of a pandemic? Certainly not me.

Gioia Goodrum took over as the president and CEO of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2016. Originally from Massachusetts, she made her home in Arizona and California before making the move to McMinnville. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and an MBA from Simmons College. Before branching out in other directions, she served as a professional chef and ran her family’s 5-star French restaurant outside Boston. Naturally, she is a longtime Red Sox and Patriots fan. But she loves McMinnville and cannot imagine living anywhere else.

I would wager most of us were happily going about our day to day activities, perhaps not thinking too far into the future. Yet here we are, seven or so months into a global disaster.

Who would have thought toilet paper and hand sanitizer would become hot commodities, or that normally rational people would engage in panic buying.

My niece is a buyer for a grocery chain. In March, it had its best week ever in the salty snack division. Potato chips are a pandemic necessity too, I suppose.

Certainly, the last few months and days have challenged us. And what has kept us going is not toilet paper or potato chips, although some would say both are necessities. What has kept us going is our ability, as humans, to hope.

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a person or thing that may help or save someone; grounds for believing something good may happen; a feeling of trust.

The pandemic has changed all we held as familiar and comfortable. Rather than meet in coffee shops, board rooms, grocery stores, restaurants and playgrounds, we have connected through technology.

We have been holding business meetings via Zoom and making social connections through FaceTime or glass doors and windows.

For many, it has not been easy. We have seen an increase in mental health issues, business closures, unemployment and divisions over whether to wear a mask or not.

Conversely, we have witnessed an outpouring of generosity and kindness, through donations to food banks and not-for-profits, sparking hope within us and nurturing a belief the world isn’t that bad after all.

So where does one find hope? Within us and all around us.

I see hope flourishing in our businesses. Their owners are doing all they can to keep going, in spite of the challenges of commerce in a pandemic.

They’ve had to completely rethink their operations, including workflow, employee safety, customer safety, budgeting and strategic planning. They’ve had to retool, reshuffle and revise, pivoting to ensure they can keep the doors open, continue selling goods and paying their vendors and employees.

They persevere because they believe in their business. They maintain hope for their futures, their families, their employees and their customers.

I see hope in the faces of customers in the stores and restaurants. In the employees working in our local businesses, going about their duties to deliver exceptional service to clients. In our legislators and government officials, expressing hope for our state, our residents and our economy.

When the lockdown began, I believed we would get through this because I had hope. And I have continued to rely on it throughout this crisis.

It is part of what has kept me going — to have hope for the future of our community, our businesses and our chamber of commerce.

When we fall apart, hope brings us back together. It is the salve that gets us through difficult times such as these. Even a glimmer of hope can bring someone back from the precipice of despair. 

When we give of ourselves to others, we find hope. Connecting with another can take us out of despair and lift us back up.

These are indeed times for us to find hope in ourselves and share it with others. We need each other now more than ever. We are getting through this together.

Hope is what unifies us in times of strife. If you are looking for hope, reach out to a friend. If you have hope, share it with others.

I would be remiss in not mentioning my gratitude for the critical workers and businesses that stayed open throughout this crisis, such as manufacturers, grocery stores, utility  providers, emergency rooms, senior care facilities and fire and police departments, to name a few. Thank you for keeping hope alive for us.

My oldest niece was privileged to meet South African theologian and human rights leader Desmond Tutu a few years ago while on an international education program. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

My hope is that we can all find that light.



I have no idea what your point is.

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