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Silver Linings

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

It’s never easy to predict with such accuracy a closing date 13 months in advance on a pre-construction home purchase but somehow, the October 4th, 2002 date they’d provided us in September of 2001 was on target.  We’ve been living in our home for the last 17 years.  Not only is our home one that I love but our calm, peaceful, nicely manicured (understatement) neighborhood is a blessing. 

Sitting just to the east of the Everglades levy, the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever experienced have been the backdrop to thousands of miles I’ve walked, run, jogged, and roller-skated. Over the years, I’ve taken these trips alone, with family and friends and with one cool amazing adventurer named Khloe.

The gym here is great, but when I’m in a multi-tasking mood, getting outside provides the exercise, the Vitamin D and the being with nature all in one.  On this Saturday, during a time of the most turmoil I’ve ever experienced in my 52 safras de mango (as my grandfather would say), I went out for my 6th walk of the week.

We’re staying home -- or close to it, at least.  Our family, along with most of the residents on our little corner of the world, are being cautious (as is most of the world right now).  Most of the WORLD right now!  Is that crazy? COVID-19 is affecting THE ENTIRE WORLD!

This is an unprecedented time in our history. To quote and flip a little Charles Dickens ‘these [truly] are the best of times and the worst of times’. 

The worst of times because -- even for those who don’t give into fear -- we have to admit that this is a time of fear for many; it’s a time of uncertainty and a time when, even those who should know what to do just don’t, and I understand that can be frightening. 

However, if we’re paying attention, these are indeed the best of times.  There is so much good going on out there. As is typically the case, these ‘catastrophes’ lend themselves for us to experience the best in humanity which leads to the inevitable silver lining, and this global issue  is full of them.

There’s been a lot more music coming from the sound systems of so many of the backyards I walked by.  A full blown party going on, with smells of delicious grilling meats smoking through the music with not enough cars in the driveway to justify a party party.  The celebrations going on are for the just the members of these households and probably a celebration most have not done together alone in quite some time, if ever.

The silver lining - through the music there is laughter and conversation and togetherness. 

The songs in my mind lately have been shifting between Doris’ ‘Que Sera Sera’, Sara’s ‘Brave’,  ‘The End of the World as We Know It’ by REM (I wonder how many times that’s been streamed in the last few weeks), shifting then to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor when I’m feeling extremely productive and over to Katy’s ‘Roar’ for the win. 

The more-than-usual hours at my computer have made way for A LOT of music and even greater amounts of productivity, for which I’m grateful.   

I know that this age of electronic devices in the hands of each family member have contributed to social distancing among households far longer than this virus has been around.  These same families who typically don’t have time to spend together are doing just that – spending quality time together.  The silver lining - I’ve seen fathers playing outside with their toddlers and children riding their bikes with their parents lagging behind on their own.

Board games are being played more than ever. It’s not because of an absence of access to those electronic devices but rather a need for connection during this time of uncertainty. This has reminded us that time is fleeting and whether we’ll have a lot or a little after all of this is said and done, we’re going to make the most of what we have to spend with those most important to us.

People are checking in on others, offering support and an encouraging word.  We are being generous with our encouragement words and our ‘hellos’ and ‘stay safes’ to strangers.  People are being kinder to each other. I wish this kindness didn’t stand out so much, but I sure do hope it becomes the new normal.  It feels almost like 9/12/2001 where we were all in something together and just wanted to be there for each other.

The silver lining – we are practicing intentional compassionate kindness.

Like never before, organizations and experts are sharing their products, services and expertise for the sole purpose of adding value, being of service and expecting nothing in return.

The silver lining – we have evidence for what I’ve always believed: not everyone is just looking out for themselves. Humanity is generous.

The planet is healing itself, a little more every day with far less pollution. People are taking better care of themselves and are  more aware of the importance of staying healthy and keeping their immunity up to combat what may come.  They’re outside more. With all the snacks we’re searching for in our pantries every five minutes we may put on a few pounds, but at least we’re moving more.

The silver lining – we may realize how much we really like moving and make it a habit.

For the first time in 17 years since we moved into our neighborhood, during today’s 4 mile loop around the big lake, I greeted 70 people walking their dogs, strolling their babies, riding their bikes and enjoying some time outdoors with their loved ones.  That is by far the most people I’ve ever encountered, including January 1st crowds, by a long shot. Everyone said hello. 

Be kind to each other, folks – remember we’re all in this together and it’s a great time for us to shine as humans.  Look for the silver linings, I promise you they are there.

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