It’s been almost 4 weeks since California issued a stay-at-home order – the first U.S. state to do so. As I was writing this weeks’ blog, I found myself becoming more and more pessimistic – both with the coronavirus and global warming. I was reading and seeing too much bad news, and it was getting the better of me.
I’ve heard that humor can help deal with difficult times. So, I pulled out and read some riddles that my dad compiled when he was a boy. Years ago, I ran across his list of “Fun-Time Riddles” (and answers). There are 247 of them, typed up before electric typewriters were invented. An example: What is the strongest day of the week? Sunday, all the other days are “week” days. I laughed out loud at some of these and it felt good.
It is also said that it’s healthy to share your feelings with someone you trust; they can help you see things from a different perspective. I did, and it did. I am lucky to have that someone.
So instead of thinking about all the losses in the hospitals and nursing homes, and the challenges facing first responders, I decided to think about the heroes working in those hospitals and nursing homes and those first responders. If you look, you’ll see lots of these heroes, each one making a difference in someone else’s life. Putting the “WE” ahead of the “ME”.
Instead of focusing on all of the people who are out of work and are awaiting financial relief, or waiting in line at a food bank, I decided to focus on the individuals helping them out, as volunteers, or as government workers, or generous employers, working extra hard to expedite, as much as they can, to provide the personal and financial relief that is so critical to someone else. All heroes.
I’ve been thinking about students and other educational workers whose routines have been upended by the isolation. And at the same time, I’ve witnessed the dedication and extra efforts of the teachers and educators who have changed the way they teach – and making a difference in each student’s life. Many governments and businesses have, through new initiatives, enabled students lacking the tools for distance learning (like computers or high-speed communications). These are heroes too and many others groups that are not mentioned here.
But instead of focusing on all the villains out there who are doing terrible things to society – either through a lack of leadership, or taking advantage of the situation for their own personal gain, I’m going to look for more of the goodness within people who are going out of their way to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. There’s the doctor who knows about the backlog of patients and shortage of supplies but instead of feeling despair, is able to focus on the one patient right in front of him or her.
There are a ton of heroes making a difference every day, without fanfare or notoriety. These are the people making the positive choices and making our planet better. Focusing on what each of us can do for one person can make all the difference in that person’s life. And a little humor doesn’t hurt either. One more of my Dad’s riddles: Why do you always put on your left shoe last? When you have put on one, the other one is left.