This virus has brought our society to its knees in many ways. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen things come to this. The reaction that governments and businesses all over the world are taking to minimize the spread of this virus has left many in shock. I’ve also been surprised by the behavior of people, ranging anywhere from rotten to Christ-like. Personally, I’ve behaved in ways that are arguably found anywhere within that spectrum. Every day is a test to see where I am that day and under those circumstances. My heart desires to be at the better end, but I fall short many times. The fear that grips us can be powerful and unwilling to let go. While it is good to exercise caution and be wise, it’s also worthwhile to be cordial.
During trips to the grocery store is when I see various sides of people, including myself. Earlier on, whenever I saw someone wearing a face mask, my attitude towards them shifted immediately. I kept farther from them than others and even avoided them altogether. Whenever someone coughed without covering their mouth, anger boiled inside. Someone sneezed near me and I could almost number the droplets I saw. Well, not really, but my point is that fear was getting to me. I let all the nonstop coverage of this virus scare me to the point that I was actually treating human beings differently. In a time when social distancing is the new norm, I added to the distance with strangers I encountered. No doubt, I could feel the coldness of heart in many people around me as well. I decided it was time for a change because my community was hurting, and I had not been doing my part to help in any way at all.
I still practice all the safe practices that are recommended. I’ve been staying at home and only going out to pick up necessities. I even started wearing gloves when I go out. The last thing I want to do is infect my parents, who are at a higher risk. But when I go to the store now, I practice some of the etiquette I use while driving, which drives some people crazy. I stop pushing my cart, smile, and let people go first. I can’t tell you how many smiles I’ve gotten during a simple trip to the grocery store.
Of course the effort is small, but at least it’s something. I’m also still calling people I haven’t spoken to in a long time, trying to catch up with them. I’m sure more ideas will come as to how I can help my community out more. The best part is, I’ve seen others in my community doing something also. People are volunteering to help older folks with their groceries who do not want to risk going out. My church has been giving assistance to the community and providing some of the necessities. I know health care workers are putting themselves on the front lines. Everyone working in any capacity who is still exposing themselves to risk daily deserve our gratitude.
In my opinion, a life of excellence is impossible without learning to give, both within one’s community and abroad. We can all find something to give, whether it is time, energy, money, encouragement, etc. Our neighbors need us!