In times like these, it is natural to fear. Viruses, incompetent leadership, economic hardship, even death. But remember this:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.
– Fred Rogers
This is so true. The examples are everywhere. Here in the United States, our federal government has been weak responding to COVID-19 — but others have stepped up. Institutions big and small across the country are following the science and closing or taking other steps to slow the spread of coronavirus, even in areas it hasn’t yet been detected, because this is the right thing to do. People are helping their neighbors, or giving up their favorite activities to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. I work for a company that’s publicly-traded on the NYSE, and it shut down all its offices globally. And kept paying the janitors and other office staff.
Some people are in a vulnerable place today. To them: remember the helpers. There are doctors and nurses, officials, neighbors the care, everywhere.
To those that are able: be a helper. It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day. Maybe a phone call or video call. Maybe delivering groceries to a neighbor that’s quarantined. Maybe acts of grace and understanding to the stressed people around you, trying their best to get by in the face of a lack of information and certainty. Maybe giving up some activities you enjoy, in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, even if you personally aren’t especially vulnerable.
I am reminded of this quote, part of a story about a dying cancer patient:
“Don’t forget that it doesn’t take much to make someone’s day.”