I could never in my wildest dreams imagine a day when I couldn’t walk in Starbucks and sit down with a cup of coffee. The idea that Publix would only allow the purchase of two packages of fresh protein per person – that the store would have empty shelves where toilet paper and paper towels once were – never crossed my mind. Being someone that eats out a lot, the thought of not being able to sit down in a restaurant and enjoy a meal was scary when I first heard of the possibility. There is nowhere to run and hide.
There are so many people effected and merely innocent victims. Restaurant employees, senior citizens in nursing and assisted living homes unable to have visitors, parents forced to home school their children while at the same time working from home, families who rely on school meals to feed their kids, etc.
As things started developing, I was not sure where to find the instructions on how to walk through this and keep my wits about me. As strange as it sounds, I remembered gratitude.
I have been writing a list of at least three non-material things I am grateful for on a daily basis for the last 13 years. A mentor taught me that gratitude is an action word. OK, how do I put my daily gratitude into action?
Obviously, I never would have wished for what we are all currently experiencing. It does afford me a choice though. I can use it as an excuse to feel self-pity that I live alone, angry and powerless for the circumstances we are all in and scared for the financial insecurity it is creating. It can also be a reason to get out of myself and be of service to my community.
It all started with Facebook. Yes, Facebook, as silly as that sounds. People started posting ideas on how to help others during this time. Post free events that are available online; promote a local restaurant that delivers or has curb side pick-up; purchase gift cards from local businesses that you can use later; find out what your favorite local charity needs and donate what you have at home; write notes of encouragement to people in nursing homes and mail them to be passed out; offer to run errands for elderly neighbors; call someone that lives alone and tell them you were thinking of them. These are simple things we can all do.
There is a family-owned restaurant, called Vendetii’s, that recently opened near my home. My county has a very active Facebook page called Focus on Forsyth County Georgia with over 49k members. I posted about the great food and staff, that they have begun delivering within 7 miles, and have curbside pickup available. As of this morning, there were 79 comments, 32 shares and 293 likes. The owners said they could never thank me enough for helping them. It took less than 5 minutes to write the post.
I’ve committed to reaching out to no less than two people a day via phone or text. Honestly, it is for them as much as it is for me. I think staying connected right now is the key since so many of us are siloed working from home and limiting our social interactions. We need each other now more than ever.
Yes, it is the worst of times in ways I can’t control. It is also the best of times – I can help and serve people I know and especially people I will never meet. Which road are you going to walk down?