In the midst of all the Coronavirus stress and uncertainty, I want to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, many years ago, when I was on my way to work, I heard a commercial from a faith-based sponsor. Some of you may recognize this, others won’t. I don’t remember the name of the sponsor.

The commercial didn’t advertise anything. All it did was to explain the concept of the Center of Moments. The Center of Moments is that spot on a ship at sea where all the forces at play meet and are resolved against one another. Put simply, it is the safest spot to be, particularly in a storm.

Now, I’ve since realized that the CoM, as it might be called, may not really exist. There are a number of competing forces and there are ways to deal with each of those forces in an attempt to create a sense of stability. Each effort may also create a reaction from another force, requiring another corrective action. But as for a CoM - well, that may be theoretical, but not something that is defined or perhaps ultimately achievable, in nautical terms.

But that wasn’t really the point of the commercial, anyway. What that commercial tried to strike was a parallel between the safest place to be on a ship in a storm at sea, and the safest place for each of us to be. That place, the commercial argued, was our personal Center of Moments.

We all have it, the argument continued. Sometimes it’s really hard to find. But it’s there. And in times of great stress, whether to ourselves individually or as a community or a larger group - region, nation, what have you - we need to remember our Center of Moments, find it, take a deep breath, and hold on to it.

The second part of my story happened several years later (and still many years ago). My company was facing a downsizing. Everyone knew it was coming. Some people felt they were more at risk than others. And some - those who, rightly or wrongly, felt they were most at risk - came into my office (I was an IT manager at the time), asking if they were on “the list.”

In business, there are always hard choices. And the hardest (if you have compassion) are the ones involving people. Especially in times of crisis.

I couldn’t tell these people one way or another. I couldn’t give them either reassurance or tough news. It wasn’t mine to give. But what I could give them was the story of the Center of Moments. So I did. It was something to hold onto.

A few weeks later, the word came down, and the worst day of my professional life began, when I had to go and tell people that yes, it was them. Yes, they were the ones the Company - us as managers - decided were the ones to let go.

The longest walk you can take with someone in business is a walk to the door.

I still remember taking that walk with one person — I won’t say who it was, other than that we had a good, if sometimes troubled, relationship as employee and manager. As a person, I truly liked him.

We had been taking that long walk to the door in silence, when out of the blue, he quietly asked, “How’s that Center of Moments working for you, boss?”

That caught me. I told the truth. “It’s shaky, but it’s there.”

“Me too, brother,” he said. “Me, too.”

And he was out the door, and gone, and I’ve never seen him again.

I do know, per LinkedIn, that he has gone on to a career more successful and probably more liberating as a result. That’s good news, certainly.

But it wasn’t news I knew of that day we took our final walk together.

I tell you that story for this reason.

We are all, now, each of us, embarked on a journey of long and uncertain duration. We are fighting something that gains power through both its invisibility and its arbitrariness — are any of us on “the list?” Our grandparents, parents, other loved ones?

None can say.

But what we each can do is find our Center of Moments. That spot within us each one of us has, that we may have to look for to find, but that is there. It’s the small, silent, still spot we can reach, that doesn’t move. It’s from this spot we draw our deep breaths, summon our strength, reach out to others, and stay strong.

So when the news of the day just gets to be too much - take the time to find your Center of Moments. Give it a little squeeze. It’ll keep you going - the next hour, the next day, whatever.

Life, after all, is to be lived - even when it gets crazy, it’s all the life we have.