How are you feeling right now?

No, really, how are you feeling right now?

Chances are, you are feeling some form of overwhelm, grief, frustration, weariness, anxiety, stress, and struggle.

It’s not surprising. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is turning our world upside down.

But where there is grief–there can be growth.

Where there is struggle–there can be sunlight.

Where this is difficulty–there can be direction.

If you’re feeling the burden of the Coronavirus, here’s a few ways to give back:

Pay attention to those around you.

There’s nothing like removing your ability to take off and move and putting you together in a house with your family to make you realize how different you all are.

But the people around you—whether they are your friends or roommates, a spouse, your kids, or maybe even just your pets—are going through a hard time too.

Like you, they may not know how to put it into words, but they are dealing with their own issues and stresses.

One simple way to give back is to pay attention to them. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Pick up on their non-verbal cues, be helpful. Be kind.

When you take the focus off of yourself and put it onto others you start to see the world a little differently. This is a good thing. Run with it.

Listen to your own heart and mind.

You have an inner monologue that runs ALL. DAY. LONG.

It guides how you think which determines how you act. When times are still and quiet (hello quarantine and social distancing!) it’s a great time to stop and listen to your heart and mind.

Don’t be afraid to feel what you’re feeling and walk through the valley.

Take some time to journal your thoughts, get them out of your head and on paper so you can deal with them. They won’t feel so chaotic and jumbled once you can see them for what they are.

Stop and smell the roses.

I’ve never been a birdwatcher or a garden guy until now.

In the past month, I’ve hung birdfeeders everywhere and watched the cardinals, bluebirds, sparrows, and wrens dance through the sky and take joy in the simpleness of my backyard.

I’ve planted flowers in my front yard and worked on making my home look nicer. I’ve soaked up the sunshine (and the pollen) and realized how blue the sky really is.

I’ve always been grateful for God’s creation, but now it is more rich, more real, and more fulfilling than ever before.

Stop, take a look around, and take joy in the little things.

Do what you can do.

My mom is a 70 year old widower. She’s also an incredibly talented craftsperson. My sister is a nurse, she’s working everyday in the stress of the medical field.

My mom decided to do what she could do.

She started making masks out of the scraps of fabric around her sewing room.

These are just a few of the designs she’s come up with.

Do what you can do.

For years, I’ve kicked around the idea of creating an online course to help people tell a better story. As a professional writer and teacher, I’ve helped countless others do the same, but for me, there’s never been time.

So now, I’ve been working on Storyscribr—an online course to help people interview a loved one or mentor, capture their story digitally (and remotely–hello again social distancing), capture the life lessons and stories, and turn them into a book. It’s launching in the next week or so.

Do what you can do.

Look around and discover your talents and put them to work.

Embrace a new kind of generosity.

Generosity looks different now, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

I walked into the grocery store a couple weeks ago when things were just starting to get tense and overheard an elderly black woman on the phone in the parking lot.

She was weeping to whoever was on the other end of the line about not having the $50 she needed for rent.

I had been carrying a $50 bill in my wallet since Christmas that my mom had given me to buy myself a gift. I stopped and handed it to the weeping lady and walked away.

There is opportunity all around if you look for it.

Say an extra big hello to the people walking up and down your street. (Of course from a healthy distance.)

If you do have to get out for essentials, ask people how they are doing. You’d be surprised at how much weight they are carrying and how that simple question can change their countenance.

Then thank them for working hard during this time. That will put them over the top.

Don’t give up hope.

Most of all, don’t give up hope.

Darkness comes for a time but it’s always followed by the dawn.

Things will get better. The world will start to normalize.

But in the end, I hope you never do.

I hope for you, your new normal, is a better normal. A more generous normal where it’s not about me, it’s about others and how I can love and serve them well.

That’s what I’m striving for. I hope you will too.


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