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Guest Post from Landon Saunders

“Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live properly,” wrote the essayist Montaigne who himself had faced a great plague.

To think of our life as a great and glorious masterpiece—that’s not a bad place to begin. To think of what would make our life a great and glorious masterpiece—that would be even better.

In many ways this present crisis has shined a light on our sense of self and our mortality in rare and unusual ways. I know it has for me.

We’re pushed away from crowds, away from concerts and churches, away from the social enjoyment of bars and restaurants, away from colleagues at work, and away from schools—away from all the places that surround us with people. Nor is it as easy to jump in the car and head to the beach or the lake to get away from it all.

Now, we are facing our sense of self and our sense of mortality like never before. We are facing what it means to “live properly” with fewer people around to support us.

And millions are doing it pretty well. They’re tapping into the inner wellsprings of courage, patience, creativity, and endurance. We’re all faced with the question: will we draw on the resources of our heart to add shape and beauty to our great and glorious masterpiece…or will we be diminished?

This crisis will surely end. And most of our lives will go on. Let’s do our best to strengthen our resolve, add myriad colors to who we are, smooth some rough edges, and emerge greater and stronger. In this way you will have benefited, and everyone around you—your children and family and friends—will marvel at your masterpiece.

Yes, even in this difficult time, let’s strive to “live properly.” Let’s not just “get through it,” let’s emerge from it all a better person.