They get purchased twice a year. At Easter it's a pastel-colored, multi-flavored package and at Christmas it's the green and red tubs. I don't take note of when the spring pack gets finished off but I do know when the Christmas ones get eaten up. Never. At least not the green ones.
Billions of jelly beans get consumed each year. At Easter alone we will eat enough to circle the Earth more than three times. While cherry and strawberry remain perennial favorites, their market share has been impacted by the popularity of savory flavors like buttered popcorn and cinnamon, not to mention ones created for the more adventurous amongst us like ear wax, pepper or dare I say it…vomit. Yes, there are cringe-worthy videos you can watch of people challenging each other to eat those without gagging.
I brought a container of leftover jelly beans to work; a smattering of red and a whole lot of green. I put the container by the coffee maker hoping people would eat them up while waiting for their mug to fill. It's now the middle of March and the green ones are still there.
I wonder if sometimes we treat issues and challenges like a dish of jelly beans. We root through and pick out what we want and leave behind what we find less appealing or perhaps distasteful. For example, even though it's important to learn the truth about the current status of the world health situation, too many are grabbing at misinformation that best fits their mindset. The truth is like my green jelly beans. It gets left behind in favor of more sensational reaction.
But as we root through and find what we want, we would do well to think of what…or who…might end up getting left behind.
The COVID-19 situation changes rapidly but there are monumental efforts being undertaken to contain it. We all have an important role to play in that. Yet every minute of every day 21 children are dying of malnutrition and preventable disease. Before I fall asleep tonight tens of thousands more, under the age of 5, will pass away because they lack food or an inoculation. We have yet to see the kind of massive effort that could change the situation if we really wanted to. It's not easy to think about. So we root around and deal with other situations and leave the rest behind.
But here's the thing. Those children who will die by the time we finish a cup of coffee are as precious and should be valued as highly as the ones getting tucked into warm beds with full tummies tonight. Just as the millions who get sick with influenza each year need care and concern, and mobilization of resources needed to restore health.
Or consider those thinking they could buy up and hoard products to re-sell at inflated prices. We shake our heads at such selfishness and the predatory nature of those lying in wait, but we might do well to recognize the over abundant nature of what most of us have at our fingertips. We may not be hoarding, but isn't it likely we all have more than we need? So much, in fact, that we get rather picky. What we have in our houses right now puts us in better stead for any type of crisis, in comparison to those who are unable to meet even basic needs on any given day. Consider how much we could share if we were willing to give up just a little bit; not what we don't want anymore, but our best. Not what gets left at the bottom of the dish, but what sits at the top.
As we wait to see what the next 24-hours bring, we have already demonstrated that a difficult situation can bring out the best in us. By paying attention to all the variables and people impacted by our actions, we can better ensure that fewer get left behind. It's all about taking care of each other; no matter the situation. So keep washing your hands, and keep reaching out in safe ways, not just today and tomorrow, but in the weeks and months to come, here and around the world. Our best resource is each other. I'm going to go wash my hands again, grab a coffee, and better appreciate those green jelly beans. That's my outlook.