There’s no upside to a global pandemic. Given the choice, we wouldn’t want to go through what we’re going through.
So as schools close, events are canceled and our public life becomes uncertain, any bit of good that comes from the situation will be about what we do for each other, and how we treat each other along the way.
Yes, there are a lot of topics where, as a county and a region, we’re not always on the same page. Maybe it’s politics, maybe it’s economic development strategy, maybe it’s religion, maybe it’s just differing priorities.
But as a community, we also know how to put aside differences and support each other in unusually tough times.
And friends, I do think such times are at hand:
There may be families and parents who struggle even more than they usually do because they don’t have the child care or support network to weather big changes in their schedule or paycheck. There may be small businesses whose sales suffer and can’t make payroll. There may be differently-abled people who have trouble getting basic needs met. There may be kids without a good place to focus their energy or curiosity.
Our first responders and law enforcement services may be unusually stretched and have to deal with new kinds of public safety issues. Some area not-for-profits may be called upon to provide more services than ever while also having to cancel their usual fundraising events. Elected officials and community leaders may be under immense pressure to make the right decisions about closings, travel advisories and public communications.
And all of us, at one time or another, will feel worried, frustrated, anxious or upset.
But we will get through it. We can do this, together.
Take this virus seriously so we can prevent its spread.
Follow the news, listen to public health officials and don’t put yourself or other people at risk. Don’t spread rumors or speculation that add confusion.
Be as patient as you can. Offer help, and accept help when it is offered.
Check on your neighbors and friends. Ask people how they are, and what they need.
Step outside your comfort zone to do what you’d want someone else to do for you.
Let’s make this a period of time when, despite any hardships that might come or losses we might experience, we can feel proud of how we behaved and what we did for each other. Let’s set ourselves up to look back in a few years and admire how our community rose to this challenge.
In the face of such unprecedented changes to our daily lives, let’s be the best version of ourselves that we know how to be.
Be well, and be kind to one another.