By Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
Make no mistake, we are living in a time of great fear and uncertainty. As we remain at home, doing what we need to do to be safe and protect the most vulnerable of our friends and family, we each exhibit the Great American Spirit required to overcome this latest challenge.
Now, more than ever, we must lean on each other when we are feeling weak and scared and hold each other up when we are feeling strong and upbeat. No one need tell you, each of us experiences stress and we react to that stress in our own individual way.
Very few things in life, come with an absolute guaranteed outcome, and Covid-19 certainly falls into this category. The vast majority of us, have in the past, experienced great loss, hardship and personal struggles. We were able to persevere and push through these difficult times and troubles, by utilizing many different tools, and perhaps the greatest of these tools... is HOPE.
It is difficult to watch the Nightly News and the daily briefings without feeling just a bit overwhelmed, and slightly more than confused. The two major competing schools of thought on controlling the Corona Virus and saving our economy are both being touted as absolutes.
On one hand, we are told the closing of business and social distancing are necessary to reduce the spread of the virus; and as such, we all must endure the pain of isolation and change our normal routines, for the greater good. On the other hand, many say, the mortality rate of this virus is quite low with respect to many other diseases, which kill countless Americans, each and every year; and as such, we must immediately open businesses and get back to the work of building our economy. While no one really knows for sure how this virus will eventually play out, and neither of these approaches offer an absolute outcome, the reality remains, either could be correct.
What we are seeing play out before our eyes, is an exercise in critical thinking. Medicine, like many other areas of our economy, teaches us to assess the problem, come up with a plan to combat the problem, implement that plan and once again, assess the results or efficacy of that plan. As more information about the problem is gained, that information is incorporated into the plan and once again, the circular thought process is implemented.
Throughout this process, we are asking people to make life and death decisions and they in turn, are asking us to trust their judgment. No one wants our leaders to sugar coat tough realities; nor, do we benefit from the criticisms and accusations of putting forth, "false hope". There is no such thing as "false hope"… there is only HOPE.
Stress takes a significant toll on the human body. Too little sleep and body does not heal, too much sleep, the body shuts down its normal functions. Finding a balance, is the key to managing our stress. Get up, take a shower, eat right, get some exercise and you will be amazed at the difference in your outlook. With all of this being said, choose optimism over pessimism, and believe in HOPE.
Covid-19, requires all of us to make choices. The choices we make, will not only effect us personally, but they very well could effect countless people around us. We all should be staying home and doing our part not to spread the virus. Not because we are fearful for ourselves; but rather, because we care about others; and those, who by our actions, may become infected.
Every crisis presents not only challenges, but opportunities as well. As we remain in our homes, we have the extra time, we are always complaining, is in such short supply. Use this time to reach out to those people who are most important to you. Pick up your phone and call….NOT TEXT, and tell your friends and family, you just wanted to check on them. Ask how they are doing, if they need anything or what new happenings they have in their life. Shared trauma, bring people together and messages of hope will always be welcomed…believe in hope.
Lately we have all heard the stories, of a few self-serving, shorted sighted individuals, hoarding of all things, toilet paper. Profiteers stoking fears and reselling ammunition at grossly inflated rates. Business price gouging for everyday items, for the sake of short term profit. However, what we are not hearing, are the stories of the countless Americans, who thru simple acts of kindness, deliver messages of hope.
Stories which include the young woman shopping at Costco and purchasing the very last package of toilet paper, then after paying her bill, giving half of it away to an elderly woman behind her in line, who had not been out of her house for over a week and had no toilet paper at all. To my friend Lee, who called me and excitedly told me about people hanging Christmas Lights on their house, to show solidarity and support for the fight agains Covid-19.
Then sheepishly telling me he had been too busy to remove his lights since the last season, and he took the message to mean, it was time to "plug those babies back in." These are just two of the countless stories of kindness and hope, playing out each and everyday, as we all struggle with life, which is anything other than ordinary. Yet somehow, so many of us have found a way… to believe in hope.