But that’s not the world I’m seeing right now. I’m seeing something different. I’m seeing people come together – from a safely maintained social distance, of course. And I’m seeing hearts opening, sharing, people uniting.
I went for my mile loop walk around the neighborhood today. Usually I never see another soul.
But in these days of so many people being home, today I passed three different groups out walking. The first group had three adults and two dogs, coming towards me on the sidewalk. As we got closer to one another, I stepped midway up an empty driveway.
They waved and thanked me as they passed. “You didn’t have to do that. We could have moved aside.”
I replied, “It was easier for me to move aside. You had the larger group. Besides, you had the two pretty furry ones.” We smiled and nodded and went on.
At the end of the block, I saw a father out walking with his two younger sons. They also were headed towards me. So, I veered off into the grass to catch the winding path further down. As we passed – about 20 feet away from each other – we hollered back and forth across the grassy expanse between us. “What a beautiful day for a walk!”
“Yes,” he agreed. “Its gorgeous and we’re enjoying the time being out together.”
On the next block a mother and her two young girls sat under the shade, off the side of the walk. A lovely Golden Retriever kept them company. It wagged its tail and looked like it wanted a pet. But not in these days. I stepped off the walkway on the other side to keep more distance between us. But then I stopped, and we had a nice short chat about the wonderful day and what a beautiful puppy she had.
Not usually seeing another soul on my forays about town, my heart was filled with joy and delight after having these interactions with neighbors that I don’t know and have never spoken too. We all kept our safe distance from one another, but still interacted.
But the very best part of the walk was stumbling across a birthday party.
I was walking along and heard a group of people singing Happy Birthday. I was horrified that they’d gathered during these difficult times of “stay at home” and “social distancing.”
A few houses further down the street, I came across the “party.” Four cars were parked in front of a house – two on each side of the street. All the windows were rolled down and the occupants in the cars were singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY at the top of their lungs. Then they all bopped their horns and took off in different directions.
I hollered across the street at the mother standing in her yard with her two teenagers, video camera in hand. “Happy Birthday to whoever’s birthday it is!”
She yelled back, with a huge smile on her face. “Thank you. It’s my son’s. He’s 18 today!”
THIS is the world that I’m seeing right now. I’m seeing people connecting. People being friendly. People opening their hearts. I’m seeing people coming together to band together and get through this as well as we can. Hope, optimism and positivity is shining out throughout the land, in much greater measure than the hoarding and the greed.
It’s not only about surviving. It’s about surviving and THRIVING.
I also realize that it’s easy for me to say this. This devastating illness hasn’t touched my family or my loved ones. I am singing a different tune than the hundreds of thousands who are seeing the painful and destructive side of this virus. I also know the quickness with which things can change. Tomorrow my words may be different. But for today, I’ll look for joy in the small moments I can find it.
Trisha Faye writes from Texas.
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