Optimism essential in crisis

Optimism essential in crisis
By Liz Thompson
July 12, 2020
This Week News

Earlier this month, we celebrated the Fourth of July and our nation’s freedom.

The past few months have been riddled with problems that could cause fear to win over reason or enjoying our lives.

One freedom we do have is to choose how we will react in any given situation.

I try to react positively, but I don’t always succeed. It is a challenge for everyone during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and all the other issues going on in our country.

In the 1980s, I worked for a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. He taught me how to solve problems.

When I first approached him about a problem, he said something like, “You can bring any problem to me you want, but when you do, also bring a solution. We may not use it, but we’ll figure it out.”

That advice has carried me through many circumstances. Problems are everywhere in our lives. To resolve them, we need to come up with solutions.

That’s what many people have been doing these past few months.

The pandemic has created problems we have never faced before. I believe people are resilient.

I’ve begun to think more intentionally about everything. I’ve made efforts to focus on all the things going well and search for solutions for even the smallest problems.

I see more pop-up pools in yards and get to hear children laughing. I’ve enjoyed watching a young family plant a garden and tend it together. Children are playing, swinging, running — often while parents watch during the week. Moms and dads — on furlough, perhaps — are making the most of the time together.

Cathy Williams found herself without her job at the Hair Shoppe in Grove City when the state ordered salons and barbershops closed in March. It was difficult not seeing her daughters or grandchild, but she said she and her four brothers texted constantly.

“We still do that even now. And I saw more people outside walking dogs, picnicking and playing as family units,” she said. “I was home and was able to see that.”

She and I had another thing in common during this time: cleaning our homes and not missing one corner or closet.

My daughter, Mary, said having a margin in her days is a good thing.

“This allows for all the ‘little’ things to be done so that life runs more smoothly,” she said.

Mary has been creative about interacting with others when she couldn’t be with them. And she is thankful for online church services — as am I.

“But seeing people in real life, in real time, and having ‘normal’ conversations in person is so valuable,” she said.

As a result, lawn parties are becoming commonplace.

Mary’s family recently added a puppy to the household — a mix of Labrador retriever and Great Pyrenees.

Her advice: “If there is ever another quarantine, get a puppy — they are a wonderful, pleasant distraction that brings joy and excitement to any day.”

Joan Campbell of Reynoldsburg said, “My current day-to-day routine doesn’t seem at all suffocating, and I have the good fortune to be married to someone who feels the same way. We’re happy to be hermits together, if that’s not a contradiction in terms.

“But I’ve also been able to actually read some books that have long awaited my attention. That’s a little bit of heaven right there.”

Like many others, my husband and I didn’t do our typical springtime camping. As a result, we got our garden started at a better time.

We planted our wildflower seeds and are being rewarded with myriad blooms showing off their diversity and beauty.

My daughter agreed about gardening: “Gardening is peaceful when you allow yourself to really take the time to do it and not just rush through the work for the results.”

Campbell said, “Yard work and gardening have attracted a higher percentage of my time than usual.”

I read that seed suppliers were busier than ever with the demand because more people are planting gardens.

Seeds of hope likely will grow as we learn positive ways to find solutions during this difficult time.

Celebration of freedom, people always valuable

Celebration of freedom, people always valuable

By LIZ THOMPSON

July 26, 2016

ThisWeekNews

This month, we celebrated the independence of our country, the day we became a sovereign nation. After 240 years, you’d think we’d be tired of celebrating. Yet every year, fireworks, picnics, family gatherings and all kinds of events throughout our country mark the date.

When I was a city reporter, some 15 years ago, I gravitated to the positive stories of people who overcame obstacles or were helping others do the same. I loved stories about people who spent hours planning Fourth of July celebrations and those who lined streets to see the fruits of their labors.

I met inventors, entrepreneurs, teachers, physicians, firefighters, police officers, students, artists, musicians, mentors, parents, those remembering loved ones, council members, city workers and business people whose stories filled page after page of the local paper.

I loved every minute and always learned something new. I even had a lesson in shuffleboard and an offer to learn chess from a man who volunteered in the schools teaching children this game of strategy.

Of course, news is always a mix, and I had to do a little bit of everything.

Even after 9/11, when this country was turned upside down, positive stories were plentiful.

Children were placing flags up and down their streets, and churches were full of those praying for the families who lost people in the terror attacks.

We had new respect and understanding of the risks the safety forces endure, especially since we weren’t sure what would happen next, or if anything would happen. To that end, many were praying for our safety and for our country in a time of crisis.

Those who lived through the Depression and World War II and were still alive to tell about it likened the reactions in our country to those times when people pulled together to survive and support one another.

We didn’t have to plant victory gardens or use ration books to meet our needs after 9/11, but we were in as much shock as people were after the attack on Pearl Harbor. We didn’t know how far things would go or what our margin of safety was.

In spite of those things, we are a resilient people.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get into a celebratory mood when we see what’s going on in our country.

Today, we have news at our fingertips on TV, computers and smartphones, newspapers and, yes, even the radio — which was what our nation had during WWII for immediate news.

Sometimes I want to shut it all off. It’s almost too much saturation, and I struggle to find the good news that’s sent to the shadows.

So much news is sensationalized that I find myself sorting through those stories looking for the people who are making a positive difference — the youth who are learning and want to make a difference in this country. I know they’re out there, but we don’t hear enough about them.

I like to read and hear about everyday people doing everyday jobs to keep our lives humming.

What would we do without the people who physically built America and those who maintain and protect it today?

Of course, it’s not the celebrations that make us free, and even if we don’t watch parades or eat from picnic baskets, what’s important is that what makes our country great lies within each of us.

We have the freedom to vote and we can do it with a clear conscience. Freedom means we uphold the laws of our land and respect the people who protect us from harm.

Freedom does not mean we can do whatever we please, no matter the consequences.

I hope we never stop celebrating. I hope these traditions won’t die and that each new generation will realize the sacrifices their ancestors made, and still are making, to keep us free. I hope our youth will join in the effort to keep America free.

Irveline Evans of Upper Arlington is one person I met as a reporter. She and her mother survived a Japanese war camp. She said, “I am always moved to tears when I hear the American national anthem, and I am only recently a Yank!”

Our nation is not perfect, but I hope each of us will continue to strive to keep it united.