Disease. Disasters. Destruction. Mass fear. Sounds great, doesn't it? Welcome to my world. We're in the middle of a worldwide pandemic like nothing we've ever seen before. Businesses are closed, shelves are cleaned out, if they're smart most countries have made gathering in groups of more than ten people illegal. Schools have been shut down, most, if not all international trade has been canceled, 1 in 5 households have had reduced work hours, if they are lucky enough to have any at all. There have been Millions of cases worldwide with nearly 600,000 deaths. Not surprisingly, most people have been told to avoid all unnecessary human contact. Makes sense, right? So, with school and work canceled, and the very strong encouragement to stay inside your house, what do people do? Not that, of course. Trails, and parks are more crowded than ever before. It's only been a week and people are sick of sitting cooped up in their houses, but you can't really blame them. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly perfect either. I've been out of the house a couple of times too. The problem I have with that is safety. It's obviously safer to stay in your house, and not socialize. That doesn't stop some people though. Now, it's not all bad news and stupidity. There is an amazing amount of good in this world too. You'd think that earthquakes and quarantines would drive people farther apart than they already are, either from distance, fear, or brawls over toilet paper and the last jar of peanut butter, and while those things have happened, it couldn't be further from the truth to say that the world has seperated and abandoned each other. Walmart and other major shopping centers have donated areas of their parking lots for testing. Businesses that are closing for the time being are donating their extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer. A distillery in Portland has started making and giving away hand sanitizer. Google and Microsoft are paying their employees even though they aren't working Authors and artists are making daily videos to help teach kids, museums are giving virtual tours, theaters are giving free online shows and ballet lessons. Adobe is offering free services, Amazon is giving RAISES to its workers in the midst of this. Police officers are parading down empty streets, singing for the people stuck in their houses. Those same people are singing together, helping to ease the fear that is so prevalent. Families are growing closer, we are learning to appreciate the loved ones that we can't have in our lives right now. For a while the #1 most trending video on YouTube was a message of hope from the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The president of the US, a man renowned for being, less than spiritual, declared March 15th a day of prayer for the country, alongside a beautiful proclamation that quotes scripture and feels as if it came from a religious leader There are smaller things happening too. As they walk by each other on the trails and in the parks everyone smiles and waves at each other with joy in their voices. People are sitting on porches playing guitars to all the people walking by. There are chalk drawings with messages of hope drawn all over, people are having conversations on the sidewalk in rainbow colors. Silly pictures have been taped to windows all over my town, putting a smile on the face of anyone who walks by. Dozens of texts are coming asking nothing more than “How are you? Is everyone you love doing alright?” We're calling each other, just because we miss each other and want to see faces and hear voices again. So, if you're feeling down. If you're sick of being stuck at home. If you just want to hug your friends again, if you're hurting because of all the darkness and terror everywhere, because there is a lot, even before this happened, just remember: It is not all bad. It's been said before that war brings out the heroes in some and the monsters in others, and if we look through that lens at all those people who gave what they had, it's safe to say that our world can be pretty great when it wants to be. People rose up in this crisis, and donated time and effort and money to help each other. Look at all these examples of love and service, and that's without even talking about the people working tirelessly to end this disease. If you need more, just Google it. I found most of these within 3 minutes. I guess what I'm trying to say is this. I'm sick of it too. I need people in my life. But the key to happiness is you. You can choose to be happy no matter what is going on in your life, and the best way to do that is to try and make others happy. So, do that. Talk about positive things, check in on the people you love, draw those sidewalk chalk pictures, sing those songs, write those stories and watch what happens. Spread the love that you have, the love that you want, the love that this world needs. Because that, is how we make a difference in this world
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