Meet The Mirabellas: Looking Back – Looking Forward (A Message of Hope)

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“Influencers” are a seriously relative term in Social Media circles and the “Like, Comment, Share” culture a great leveller. But, as Social Media Managers who deals with them on a daily basis, 2020 brought us face-to-face with real ‘influence’. It was an eyeopener…

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Meet the Mirabellas – globetrotting family with roots in America who in their own way have had an impact and left lasting impressions on all they have met. Me included. This here is a guest post by Mike, superman head of the family…

Looking back to early March 2020, I can’t believe I embarked on a round trip journey from Asia to the United States. My main concern at the time with international travel was avoiding flight cancelations that were becoming more common in Asia. I just wanted to make it safely to the US. I remember being a bit nervous about traveling, but only about getting into the US—where it was considered mostly safe and coronavirus-free.

I’ll never forget the feeling of landing on the west coast of the US. Most everyone coming from Asia wore masks on the planes and in terminals. As I walked through the US airport, I was an oddity wearing a mask. Eventually, I removed it. After all, I thought, the coronavirus was a problem mostly in East Asia.

During my time in the US, I completed what I wanted to do. Most importantly, I had precious time visiting with my two college-aged children at their universities. I suppose that was my greatest underlying motivation for traveling at that time. A father will do just about anything to be with his children.

Arriving back in the nick of time

The spread of COVID19 was growing in the US and globally while I was traveling. In fact, within days of arriving back in Asia, every state in the USA had a confirmed COVID19 case. The spread was escalating.

It was not long before all international travelers weren’t allowed into our Asian country. Wow! I made it! Little did I know that I was close to being separated from my wife and youngest child—I know people who were separated from their spouse for months.

Blessings of time and space

Like millions of people around the world, we were on lockdown and confined to our home. The world outside our home seemed diseased and dangerous to me. There was no way to see the virus with the naked eye, so at the time it seemed it could be anywhere. It felt safe to be inside our home.

After a couple of weeks, we settled into daily routines and figured out ways to be positive. We played dominoes after breakfast and lunch. When I went out for groceries, I would bring back fresh cut flowers to put around the house. We hung up strings of white Christmas lights in the living room. My daughter and I would exercise daily by following an online instructor’s live video stream.

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Mike with youngest daughter Hope

Life moved more slowly. I found that to be a blessing. There was more time and space to spend with the family and to pursue creativity through art. I created a pencil portrait of my daughter and her pet bird. Something I’ve not had time and space in my day to do in years.

The time to pause also drove me to think about life and how to interpret 2020.

Wake-up call

Through several months, I followed the news, social media, and a variety of blog posts. Frankly, it became stressful. It bothered me that the world seemed mostly myopically focused.

Mask-wearing. Politics. Blame. Survival. Few people seem to look at bigger questions, like why? I’m not talking about assigning blame to receive our collective global wrath. Not that “why.” I’m referring to “why is there suffering?.” Why does a new, deadly virus seemingly materialize from nowhere?

I’m not sure how many people think deeply about this. I think some settle for a surface acceptance of the mysterious properties of nature or expect it as a factor in natural selection. Some believe the why is answered by evil spirits or bad mojo. The question really pokes at the core of what we understand and believe about life and the universe.

It’s safe to say that many people believe the world’s mysteries are being consistently solved through yearly advances in science. However, there are many nagging, unsolved mysteries. For example, Clay Institute offered a cash prize of $1,000,000 USD to anyone who can aptly prove intelligible formulas can predict turbulence — the chaos inherent in fluids, water, air, and gases. It’s still a mystery.

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“Transfixed,” Our search for hope is often deterred when we are mesmerized by other things or what isn’t true. Pencil sketch by Mike thinking about searching for hope.

Is humanity’s inability to understand the most fundamental whys in the universe a concern? Is the turbulence of 2020 a wake-up call for humanity? Is there hope?

Design and chaos

As a visual designer, I see the beauty in good design. I appreciate well-designed posters, buildings, furniture, vehicles, and, yes, vaccines. Like most people, I’m grateful that within an unprecedented time frame the world has developed well-crafted vaccines and better treatments for COVID19. There is hope that 2021 will see the world break out of the coronavirus stronghold.

As I look at this world, I see systems designed with building blocks, such as atoms. Systems and structures are evidence of a designer—just like furniture and vaccines. I believe the natural world speaks loudly of a universal designer.

But why the chaos? I refer to Genesis chapter 3 in the Bible. It points to a point in time where human rebellion fractured the relationship with the Creator. This also introduced a fracture into the universe. The Bible says in Romans chapter 8 (ERV), “Everything God made was allowed to become like something that cannot fulfill its purpose.” And, “That was not its choice, but God made it happen with this hope in view: That the creation would be made free from ruin…”

There is hope

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Pencil sketch of Mike’s daughter Hope and her pet bird, Elvis.

I believe we enter into 2021 with an appreciation of the value of family and friends. We have a new perspective of the value of our time and the benefits of slowing down. Perhaps we better appreciate the value and brevity of life. I hope we’ve learned to love more deeply and laugh more often.

We live in a world struggling with thousands of years of unpredictable turbulence that today’s scientists can’t define. There are answers for why, and, better yet, there is hope. I believe the hope lies in the Creator and his answers for restoration, peace, and joy. His path was revealed through the life, works, and teaching of Jesus, who said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Obviously, there are whole books written about human struggles, death, and the hope found in Jesus — plus all that’s found within the many books of the Bible. Ultimately, I hope we don’t quickly go back to business-as-usual and miss this opportunity to respond to the 2020 wake-up call. I pray we move forward through 2021 to embrace what’s truly important in life. I think that’s where all peoples will find hope.

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The Mirabellas

Mike Mirabella, a friend who I first met in Bangalore, India in 2011 is an artist, designer, and marketing consultant from the United States. He, his wife (Carole), and their three children have enjoyed learning about the many colourful cultures of the world and investing time in people along the way.

Travels have taken them to places in Europe, Africa, and Asia, such as South Africa, Italy, France, India, and Thailand.

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