This guest column is by Michael Brower, the co-owner of Pigeon Hill Brewing Company in downtown Muskegon.
Yesterday, I watched as my world burned down around me. My friend David Ringler, referring to the survival of local businesses, told MiBiz that it “is going to be a bloodbath.” Those were my exact sentiments as the news came in.
(Hang with me; this story is long, but it gets better.)
Everything that Joel, Chad, Alana, Ryan, Chris, Amy, Nichole, Dylan, Becky, Hippy Jesus Zack, Timmy, Mikayla, Heather, Shawn, Grace, Dana, New Zack, and I had put our hearts and souls into over the last six years seemed to come crashing down around us Monday morning.
As someone who could potentially be personally impacted by the virus—I’m a severe asthmatic who foolishly smoked during 10 years of his misbegotten youth—I’m terrified of it. Realistically though, I’m even more terrified of the impact on the world economy, on our local economy, on the businesses of my friends, and on my family at Pigeon Hill.
Here’s where this turns the corner.
These fears have haunted me for a few days, but today, as our team drank disinfectant beverages (rum and whisky) together and discussed the future of our company, I remembered a few things:
1. We aren’t in this alone. So many of you are facing these same challenges right now. And our hearts go out to you.
2. Our family—and the community around us—is incredible. They’ve already proven that with their support by email, Facebook messages, and coming out to see us.
3. Life goes on.
4. Perhaps most importantly: Life Is Beautiful. Even in its darkest moments, life is beautiful. Struggles abound every day, and they will be significantly more omnipresent in the days to come—but it is because of these struggles that we can appreciate the beauty around us. When a fire burns down a forest, the first flower to bloom is always the most beautiful. When a baby is born…well, it goes from really creepy to really beautiful in a few minutes flat.
We’re entering times that seem so very dark. And yet, to quote a favorite movie of mine, “the night is always darkest before the dawn.” Remember, the hardships you see ahead of you are shared by almost everyone around you. None of us are alone in our struggles right now.
Today, and in the weeks to come, we are all family. Don’t hesitate to call on me if you need something. At the same time, please do remember to support those around you. Whether that means helping a neighbor who can’t do a task on their own or supporting a local business that is facing the same uncertain future as every other local business, do your part to keep our larger family healthy.
As we work together, and get through this together, we have a chance to build empathy and a sense of community that our world has been lacking as of late. We will all get through this, and in doing so, our generations (all of the generations) have a chance to shine. Let’s show ‘em what Gen COVID can do.