| by Danielle Vincent

Challenging times.

I often use the phrase "challenging times" when I mean "hard times."

For example:
Friend: How are you holding up? How's business?
Me: These are challenging times.

And, in times like these, -- particularly challenging times -- I reflect on the accidental accuracy of that phrase. I mean that things are hard.

But we are being challenged.

My friend (and long-time Outlaw) Rashed wisely remarked that when he falters in his training, he has come to realize that is part of what makes the eventual success even more valuable. Challenge is part of growth. Challenge helps us see who we are, and who we might become.

And now, we are challenged. These are challenging times.

We are challenged to be kind and have integrity in the face of people who are are acting out of fear and anger.
We are challenged to seek a nuanced truth rather than leaning on over-simplified sound bites.
We are challenged to explore our positions in society and how we intentionally or unintentionally relate to others.
We are challenged to find common goodness when it is easier to blame others and create division.
We are challenged to build bridges when others are building walls.

I know our community of Outlaws. We are dedicated to kindness and integrity.

These challenging times are an opportunity to reflect and connect.

I've heard it said that smooth seas never made a skilled sailor. We are all becoming much more skilled sailors during this time.

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