Life isn’t about just waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain
In my last segment I talked about how leaders can emerge from the strangest of situations, bringing a positive outlook to a situation that seems terribly bleak.
Continuing along with that theme, as we continue to practice physical distancing and face a future that seems bleaker each day, I can’t help but feel that we have to dig deep within ourselves to find the positives, and picture a world, in fact, humankind, that might be better for having gone through such a rough period in our lives. We are in one of the biggest and worst “storms” in history and the proverbial rain doesn’t seem to be stopping. How might we learn how to “dance” in the rain? Many have learnt not only how to dance, but also how to create rainbows where there were none before.
In these few weeks that we’ve been practicing physical distancing, we’re learning what it’s like to cocoon ourselves within ourselves or with our families. But we are also re-evaluating our lives! The world is learning to appreciate all the millions of things that are of value in this world – family, friends, eating and playing together, prayer, nature. We are appreciating the luxury that we lived in, the abundance of goods that were in the stores, our health and our freedom, that we took for granted. What we considered problems before have suddenly been swept to the back of our minds.
A lesson that my father taught me very early in life is: Behind every cloud there is a silver lining. It may be somewhat elusive, but that lining is there if you look hard enough for it. So many things that used to sound like clichés are now seemingly powerful lessons that we’re all grabbing at, during this awful time.
I can’t help but notice the many ways that people are supporting each other. The neighbours that we never spent much time with are now calling us to check how we’re doing. Friends and family from all around the world are getting in touch with each other much, much more than usual, to check on their health and safety, and to give each other words of support and wisdom. Neighbourhood kids are picking up mail from the mailboxes for the elderly and isolated and leaving it on their doorstep, to be picked up when it is safe to do so. Leaves on lawns are being swept by random neighbours, and lawns on every home down the street are being mowed by a single person. Meals are being cooked by friends and other caring persons, for those who are occupied with keeping society safe. I’m seeing people sharing their groceries, meals and even their government support benefits with those who are less fortunate or who are out of work. Along with that, the air is cleaner, there is less pollution in the world, and possibly the birds in the air and the fish in the sea also appreciate this brief respite from the madness that is our “normal” world!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we carried on practicing this caring attitude long after the enemy is gone? Could that possibly lead to peace in the world? Let’s all be careful, when the time comes to “normalize”, that we remember to put others first, and to keep doing all the good things, appreciating all the things that truly matter, and not plunge headfirst into “business as usual” – and go right back to the way we were.
No amount of thanks is enough for the millions of people all around this hurting world who are devoting themselves to keeping us all safe – medical professionals, hospital workers, caregivers, cleaners, janitors and building maintenance people, grocery store teams, pharmacists, farmers, firefighters, police, paramedics, correctional workers and other support teams, border agents, truckers carrying essential food and goods throughout the country, manufacturers working tirelessly to produce health supplies, social workers, priests and clergy, funeral home workers, transit workers taking essential workers to and from their places of work, airline staff who are bringing people back to their homes, and all other essential service workers. Not to mention parents all over who are looking after their families, making sure they are eating, exercising and resting enough. And children of elderly parents, who are anxious but trying to be positive as they support their parents who cannot receive physical visitors. Without the efforts of all these people, it’s hard to imagine what the world would be at this time and at al times. Let’s salute them and tell them how grateful we are.
Life is a gift – let’s treasure and nurture it; let’s be kind to each other - after all, we’re just passing through, and all too soon we will be gone, leaving only our legacies behind us. And what do we want that legacy to be? It costs us nothing to smile, to be respectful, to be kind, and to be patient. If anything, it brings us much better results than if we scowl, demean, criticize others or get upset with people.
At this time of profound change, let’s be aware of the many sides of this situation, the difficult, the serious, the sad, the scary, but also the hopeful. Let’s be thankful for the really valuable things in life. And let’s not just wait for the storm to pass – let’s learn how to dance in the rain!
As we look to the future, one that will no doubt be very different from our recent past, let’s all play our part, be socially responsible and help each other through this when the time comes to transition to the new “normal”.
Life will change. Things will never be the same. By being positive, by being resourceful, by being leaders, we can make things even better than they were.
Stay safe, everyone!
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