My Grandmother and Grandfather are not alive today, but I fondly remember sitting with them and having them tell me stories of the President’s past, and wars, and the great depression. Seemingly, many of us who are going through a second wave of lockdowns can now empathize with the older generations. The first go-round wasn’t that bad, although there was a rush on essentials, and of course the hoarding and unnecessary wastefulness, but this time around somehow seems almost apocalyptic in its approach.
Many of us never dreamed of food shortages, let alone empty paper product isles or rationing at our local big box stores, lines around the corner, and families trying to simply buy a few meager groceries to get them through, while having children in tow. We are being told that we cannot meet with anyone outside of our home, to gather is forbidden, and traveling to Grandma’s house for the holidays (unless they live with you) has now been canceled, lest we spread a deadly disease that has serious consequences. While this may be new to us, it is all too familiar to those who have gone before us. While I certainly do not mind standing in a small line at my local market, there is something eerie in seeing those lines as you drive through the parking lot wrap all the way around a block with people waiting to be allowed in, only to find bare shelves or slim pickings. For many seniors, it must frighten them to see this once again, to wonder about the state of our country, our economy, and what the future holds. Our state is one of the ones who are going on a two-week lockdown, we are restricted once again, only this time, the measures are stricter, necessary, but still daunting. If our eyes see this, we experience the worry once more, can you imagine what it is like for our elders?
During this time, I have seen the worst in people, but, I have happily seen instances where it brought out the kindness of others. It has drawn families closer, perhaps we hold on tighter to each other’s hand, or maybe we cherish those text messages or emails a bit more, those words somehow have more meaning, and saying “I love you” goes a bit deeper, doesn’t it? I was tapped on the shoulder at a market yesterday and turned to see a frail woman who needed something off the shelf and couldn’t reach it, as a younger generation, let’s look at doing what we can to help those who need a hand. I’ve witnessed gentlemen holding doors for our veterans, and waiting till they pass by with their canes or walkers, people who are smiling and saying “thank you” to our soldiers, and letting those with children go ahead of them in line. Acts of kindness, paying it forward for someone eases the worry a bit. It puts a touch of softness in an otherwise harsh reality.
While we may not necessarily be able to smile, we can spread the joy of a smile with our eyes, with our voice, and conversation even from a distance or across the isles from someone. We may have different opinions, we may have some trepidation about what lies ahead, but perhaps we can choose to not be divided, to not go back to the depression of yesteryear, but instead give someone a little hope by simply not being silent and offering cheer and an uplifting word to those who have lived through this before.