Is the money going to last? Will the people on the frontlines make it? Will I be able to see my parent who is in the nursing home face-to-face soon? Am I really going to have to go to a food bank for the first time in my life? All these questions that we ask ourselves, either while awake at night or while going to sleep. In the quietness of a dark bedroom, our thoughts are in turmoil and reflect absolutely nothing peaceful, only the real, palpable effects of this pandemic.
I would like to offer a word of comfort: we are experiencing something unique. Something that has a silver lining if we are willing to look and search for that lining. In every negative, there is a positive. Even though I—just like you—have those worrying thoughts, thank goodness mine are only when I go to sleep. When I wake up, I realize two things:
1. That even without a pandemic, we do not really know what the day brings. We are just lulled into believing that life is secure, but now we know it is not.
We see this reality through the homeless people we see more and more on the streets of all major cities around the world. We hear it in the news when we hear of the 100th shooting that took place. Or from our friends who are laid off a year shy of their retirement. So, in other words, we now are more fully aware that life has no guarantees. Previously, the certainty was that when we got up in the morning, most of us went to a job that still existed. That the habit-forming things were in place: we woke up, got ready, and snagged our coffee latte on the way to work.
2. That there is something at work here that is so different from any other disaster in that it affects every single human being—young or old, in the US or elsewhere, rich or poor, no matter what country or ethnicity. We are truly aware that this is real and all are touched by it. Some more than others, of course! But we can definitely all agree we are in this dilemma.
This is the silver lining: this cause and effect is not your personal fault and although it affects you personally it was not created by you. When we hear of natural disasters, our willingness to come to the aid of another is big because it is nobody’s fault. And that is part of the silver lining and hope.
We will now actually have the opportunity to pull each other up instead of the usual tearing down. We cannot criticize or have judgments about each other, as we know our house of cards has come crashing down for all of us. We have always lived in our own uncertainty but this is the silver lining—this uncertainty is shared and felt by all.
My words of hope for you is that pulling up the person next to you—no matter how little you have—is a gift, a purposeful act of kindness for no other reason than that you can and that you understand fully how much that could mean to them. You are now also aware during these strange times that this is what has been totally lacking in our communities. We have lacked the sense of belonging to one community, one group, one humanity (for lack of a better word).
The silver lining is that even though you are on lockdown, you have the incredible might to be kind to someone because you know… You know that the only way we get our lives slightly back is to help all of us. I say “slightly” because, honestly, none of us knows what that will look like.
Our silver lining is that we are conscious that each purposeful act of kindness toward anyone is the best investment we can make for humanity!