Many of you can remember the days after Nine-Eleven. Americans had a common enemy and they stood shoulder to shoulder in opposition to anyone who had tried to harm them.
Some pictures in the news at that time have remained in my memory ever since. Ash-covered New Yorkers walking out of Manhattan and helping complete strangers in their midst. First-responders climbing UP the stairs of the Twin Towers as they urged the workers to go DOWN those same stairs as quickly as possible. President Bush standing in the rubble beside exhausted firemen. Almost every home displayed the American flag snapping in a late summer breeze. Every church was filled to capacity over the next few Sundays as we prayed for those who had lost so much and were grateful for the mercies we had experienced.
Unfortunately, as time began the healing process, petty politics returned with a vengeance. Any goodwill generated from closing ranks against terrorism was swept away as thoroughly as the cinders from New York’s streets.
Now, we find ourselves in the midst of another crisis. Worldwide this time. The battle is not against a human enemy but a virus. Have people responded in a way similar to nineteen years ago?
I only hear local stories, but I believe tales of selfless action abound in other neighborhoods, towns, and cities around the world. I wish ALL major news outlets would create daily “Encouragement for the Day” pieces so we could see what a united stand against a common enemy looks like once again.
I will start with encouraging news in my area.
- Several of my friends are following CDC guidelines and creating masks for the elderly and any who ask for one. They saw the need, possessed the skill, and have sprung into action to help.
- Medical personnel are working around the clock in areas hardest hit by COVID-19, and thousands more doctors and nurses from around the country have volunteered to join them. Their assistance may end up limited as the virus works its way across the country, and they are needed back home.
- The military is pitching in by rerouting supplies and implementing their own labs for testing the corona virus.
- Grocery stores have adapted their hours so that those who are most vulnerable to this illness are allowed to shop at a separate time right after employees have super-cleaned the store once again.
- My friend, who teaches private music lessons, has suspended fees for any student whose parent has lost their job during the shutdown.
- My neighbor works in a small auto parts store. Considered essential for emergencies, it doesn’t have the normal flow of business as usual. The owner is foregoing his paycheck so the workers will receive theirs.
So how can the rest of us help?
You may be thinking, “I’m not a doctor or nurse, I don’t own a store, I don’t sew, I don’t charge money for services. I have nothing to offer.”
I’m not any of those things either, but here is how I have chosen to help where I can.
Offer to go for a grocery run if a friend or neighbor feels too vulnerable to be in a public place. I’m healthy. I keep a safe distance from others while at the store. I use disposable wipes and hand sanitizer every time I’m out. My steering wheel has never been so clean!
Check in with friends via text, phone, or video, especially if they live alone. Cabin fever is real. People get depressed. If I can lift someone’s spirits with a chat as we share the latest news, or by allowing them to vent, I’ve played a small part in getting through this strange season in life.
Write. This post for instance. I hope it brings you encouragement, a lift in mood, a smile, maybe even a chuckle. You don’t have to write a blog. Mail a letter (with a stamp!) Send a card with a short note. Compose an email filled with cheerful details of life “under siege.”
Pray. Each of us knows specific needs surrounding us. Someone who has come down with the virus. People on the front lines who are actively seeking a cure, creating a test kit, or working with highly contagious patients. Of all of my sons and daughters-in-law, I have four in the medical profession, one in the military, and one in the fire safety industry. Half of them are involved with patient care or testing for the virus. If you want to add your prayers to mine, they are most welcome!
With these examples in mind, I would like to try something.
If you know of a person’s act of courage or kindness in these difficult times, use the contact form and let me know. I will post it on this website, then you can share the post with others. Spread the joy of people helping people.
In fact, share this post so others have the opportunity to do the same thing!
Maybe I sound like a do-gooder like Pollyanna. So be it. The Pollyannas in our lives show us the silver lining in every dark cloud. They do us a world of good!