A Light in the Darkness

The current social distancing and isolation as a result of the current pandemic has certainly has a drastic impact on people’s every day lives. From minor annoyances, like March Madness not happening, to real life altering problems, like job loss or sickness. However, something else has drastically changed (or was renewed); and that is the amazing power of a rallying community seeking to do good. Now, I am in no way seeking to minimize or ignore the real and genuine hardships that are going on right now. That is the last thing I want to do. There are many articles, reports, blogs, and social media reflecting on the earnestness of this situation. These issues should not be hidden, and those articles should be written. We need to continue to see how this is negativity impacting those around us. But that is not what I am thinking about right now. Today, my heart is warmed and my soul is refreshed by all the amazing acts of generosity, selflessness, and honest heroism I am seeing happening every day.
The first people that need to be highlighted are medical personal. I am amazed by the near universal call to arms that has been upheld by our medical professionals. Hearing the personal stories of friends and colleagues who are at the forefront of this outbreak has been touching and powerful. People have told me they have not seen their significant others in days (one person weeks) because they felt an obligation to stay and help as much as possible. Another person sent me a picture of the back of her ears. They are bruised, scabbed, and raw from the constant, persistent rub from the nylon face-mask attachments. Everyone I talked to is beyond tired and desperately wanting this to all be over. But every single one of them seemed determined to not give up and to dig as deep as needed to win the day.
Individual people are stepping up to help in any way I can. There is an app called ‘Nextdoor’ that acts as a kind of digital bulletin board for local communities and neighborhoods. I have been blown away by the number of people posting asking if anyone needs help. People are offering to go grocery shopping for high risk people who should not leave the house. Some are offering free services, like digital tutoring for kids transitioning to distance learning (while we are on the subject of school, teachers have on the whole been amazing coming up with a whole new way of teaching and in some cases an entire new syllabus basically on the fly). Still others are voluntarily offering to give away perhaps the most valuable of commodities right now—toilet paper.
Businesses are doing what they can to help in this time of crisis. Grocery stores allocated specific hours for elderly and immunodeficient people. Breweries switching space, money, and person power to making hand sanitizer instead of beer. Even cable companies (normally the bane of most people’s existence) are trying to help by offering free movie channels during this time of isolation. These are just a few examples of people that are stepping outside of their normal pattern and extending themselves for the betterment of those around them.
So, while there is no denying or minimizing all the negative impacts the Coronavirus is having, it has also brought us together as humans. It has, for a brief moment, put our everyday problems, disagreements, and barriers into perspective. It has highlighted the best parts of humanity—the willingness to join hand-in-hand (metaphorically of course—6 feet apart!)  and declare that we will protect those who can’t protect themselves and we will care for anyone who need it. I can’t tell you how much all of this has lifted by often overly pessimistic and skeptical heart.