Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

More than ever, our nation, our world is needing hope and healing. The evening news blasts numbers and data, even online sites are filled with far too many pictures of now barren sidewalks and roadways. Our eyes and minds are taking in things that we were never meant to see.

All of this brings to mind days where we were once carefree, gathered with friends to celebrate a birthday or raised a glass at a nearby pub. We remember fondly paying it forward to the car or person ahead of us in line at our favorite coffee shop, the taste of a cooling fountain soda while we breezed out the door of a gas station. Now all of that seems like a distant memory, something otherworldly. 

We find ourselves wanting to connect deeper now that we are forced to video conferencing and facetime. What they say about absence making the heart grow fonder is true. We long for the things we once had access to. I too, find myself forgiving differences and drawing (albeit virtually) closer to friends and family members. Somehow that tie that once required a bit of patience, now suddenly seems more important. I’m willing to listen more, be there more, and understand more. 
I find myself extending the hand of friendship daily as I see others try to deal with pain and taking care of their older parents and children now who demand more than their parenting skills were equipped for. Many are having to be teachers, cooks, schedule planners, warriors and wonder woman or superman and it is difficult to try to hide or own doubt and tell others it’s going to be alright. Their voice cracks a bit, we are not sleeping through the night. We worry about how we are going to provide, for them, for our spouses, for ourselves. We wonder when the proverbial other shoe might drop. 
In all of this, love has a deeper meaning, doesn’t it? Maybe there are things that we should have seen but were too hurried, too rushed in our life to see. We set aside certain things for later, but, suddenly we realize that there might not be a later. As the old poets used to say, yes, tell them now how you feel because tomorrow is not promised. Words perhaps have more meaning, because there is only that now. How do we live in a world that is suddenly without touch, how do miles measure when hearts cannot be together? Can love survive when there are only words? I believe if it is strong enough, it will, time and distance matter not. I used to tease that true love can survive anything, well, if it can survive this, it will indeed endure. 
As a writer and photographer, I am trying to use my work and my words to offer hope, to show others that there is still beauty out there, that others do care and while alone, you are not. I’m trying to be the calm in the storm because life does throw many things at us, it grows us, challenges us, but it also changes us. It mellows our hearts and makes us more compassionate to others’ needs. Maybe we can make a mask for our neighbor, pick up a few groceries and leave them by the door for someone, put a sign on our window, or a chalk message on our sidewalk to encourage someone.

Maybe, we can be a change through simple acts of kindness. Maybe we can show our true humanity.