In 1859, Charles Dickens began A Tale of Two Cities with these memorable lines:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
More than a century and a half later, these words still resonate. In a year marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic, hope and despair have once again intermingled with economic prosperity and civil unrest, a turbulent presidential election and senseless racial violence, and a return to community gatherings and significant business closure. Most importantly, hope that the worst is over intertwines with sadness for the loss of beloved family members and friends.