Without question I am living a blessed life. I know that. I try daily to express my gratitude for the life I have. That's not to say I haven't dealt with some difficult things along the way, because I have.
As a teenager I stood at the graveside of my father being forced so unexpectedly to say goodbye.
Working within the educational system, I was given the task of telling a high school student that a friend had taken his life.
As parents to two young girls, my husband and I had to tell our children that daddy had cancer and we were now on a different path as a family.
Many people have dealt with much, much worse, including today, in locations all around the world. Starvation, homelessness, displacement, lack of access to clean water and more; situations that have always been with us but are all the more harshly experienced given the sweep of the pandemic.
There are any number of complex circumstances that we feel ineffective or even powerless to have any impact upon. But there is something we are being asked to do right now, that has the potential to have incredibly far reaching impact. It's the same thing people all around the globe have been asked--or ordered--to do.
Not in my lifetime has something so simple been asked of so many to combat something so big. We are being asked to stay home. That's it. Stay home. Stay home in what for a lot of us, means heat, food, water, electricity, entertainment, security and safety. Much is on the line for all of us. Economically, to be sure. There is not one among us that won't be impacted by what is ahead. But right now if we do what we have been asked to do, not only could we save lives, keep our health system functioning as well as possible, but perhaps help the light at the end of the tunnel emerge a little bit sooner.
For the first time every nation on the planet is pulling in the same direction. Every level of government and all health departments are working toward the same objective: to try and contain the spread of a virus and keep as many people as possible from becoming carriers or getting sick. Trying desperately to hold the line on the numbers of those losing their lives. Health care professionals for days now have been posting signs with a straight forward message: "I came to work for you, you stay home for us." Can it get any simpler than that? Don't they deserve that from us?
There's another group of people who deserve something from us. Our respect and our gratitude. It's our grocery store personnel who have been called upon to work in unprecedented circumstances. They show up not knowing who will be coming through the doors, where those customers have been previously, and whether or not they will follow precautions. But they are keeping shelves stocked and doing all they can to ensure we have what we need, and in some places dealing with the rude and the fearful. We are seeing clearly that individuals like those who work in grocery stores are the ones who deserve the kind of admiration and applause we normally shower upon our athletes and celebrities. We're seeing who the heroes are. Be sure to thank them. Not after we've come through this, but today. A phone call or note would go a long way in encouraging them.
We often think wielding power occurs in the things we do and the actions we take. Yet ironically, today, our power lies in doing very little. Not moving amongst others. Not gathering in groups of any size. Not doing what we're accustomed to doing.
We have tremendous power; and it's so easy for the vast majority of us to wield it. Never has it been more true that the smallest of actions has the potential to result in the biggest of impacts; the containment of a pandemic. The best thing we can do for each other is to heed the precautions. The way we pull together is spending this time apart. That's my outlook.