Seeing the good during the days of COVID-19

Lucy Laney street car parade celebrating students.

There is so much heartache for families in our neighborhoods, beyond the coronavirus deaths. There are graduates denied their pomp and circumstance, brides and grooms with no attendants or attendees, grandparents unable to see or hold newborns, and no celebration of life for the newly deceased. In addition, there are single people isolated at home, or victims of abuse with no reprieve. And these are just some of the emotional wounds being carried.

There are also financial fears to be dealt with. Unemployment payments may not cover the bills, even with the enhanced payment of $600 per week. Will my job be there when it’s time to go back to the workplace? Can I reopen my business now – or ever? How can I go to a food shelf – how can I not? For many, life will not be the same going forward.

And yet…

There has been a remarkable focus on what we can do, what good we can do, how we can help each other, regardless of our situation. It is possible to find positives in our dire circumstances.

Locally, a school parade was held on May 14. As the honking vehicles wound their way through the Lind Bohanon neighborhood, I stepped out to capture some pictures. One message was “Lucy Laney 2020 Shine Your Light.” I don’t know if the parade was specifically made up of Lucy Laney teachers and staff or if more neighborhood schools were represented. What I saw was a long line of people trying to bring positive messages to children learning at home. I also saw people outside their homes, appreciating those who have been teaching their children. And I appreciate their efforts to spread joy in spite of their circumstances.

We make it a point to wear masks when we go to the store. It is not to say, “I’m afraid of the virus.” It is to say “Thank you” to those who are working to keep shelves stocked and check-out lines moving. I say “Thank you for being here” as we leave, and my husband says, “Stay safe.” We get a grateful smile for those few words of heartfelt encouragement.

I have seen a lot of spring housecleaning being done, and offers for free items no longer needed. We have offered free firewood and plants to neighbors who are spending more time in their yards than they expected. 

I have seen local businesses thrive on the concerted efforts of residents to patronize their establishments. 

Emily’s Café at 44th and Penn has been busy with take-out orders and a wood-fired pizza offering on Friday nights. From their Facebook page on May 15 – “Fish Fry Friday!” This is just such a success we need to keep doing it! Thank you so much for your support!”

Dancing Bear Chocolate opened their store at 44th and Thomas during this pandemic.  May 8 was their first day, and they posted at 4:06 p.m. “WOW! We have had to close for the day because we are sold out!!” The next day posting at 4:34 p.m. “Day two…. Sold Out, plus we will not be open tomorrow due to lack of inventory. Thank you to everyone who came to see us the past two days.”

Life has changed for almost everyone.  We don’t know exactly what the future will look like a year from now. We need to know that today we can look for the positive. If you have sidewalk chalk, go out and have some fun with it. If you see your neighbors outside, offer them a stick. If you don’t have chalk but your neighbor does, ask if you can have one to write a message too. 

Most importantly: If you need help, please ask for it. You may not get the helpful answer the first time, but even someone saying, “I can’t help you, but I know someone who might be able to,” is a step forward.