Changes in daily life afford time for kindness

Day by Day: Changes in daily life afford time for kindness

May 21, 2020

This Week News

The tiny, green mint leaves peeked above ground last month in my yard.

As I pulled the tentacles of the plant’s roots from the heavily mulched garden, I was amazed at how they had become so long underground.

When I planted it years ago, I didn’t know that it was an invasive plant that could take over an area.

I can see a similarity in the mint to the hidden, sweet-smelling things in our lives.

With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, I have seen the sweet reactions of so many people. This unique time in our country has most of us staying home to stay safe.

But for those with children now home from school – and people working from home – life took a quick turn. Suddenly, they have the entire family at home, all the time.

Homeschooling became a reality that was thrust on many parents. It takes patience and creativity, but the spring weather at least makes it easier to spend time outdoors.

With technology at our fingertips, online school and virtual meetings became the norm.

My granddaughter, Elizabeth, now a senior at Cedarville University, completed schoolwork online. She conducted lessons via video with her piano students.

My mom, Mary Day, who just turned 98, always was busy and available to me and my three siblings 24/7.

Someone at the Church of the Messiah, her church in Westerville, planned a drive-by birthday party, including gifts. Cars lined the streets as she stood on the porch waving. My brother, Jim, and his family later stood on the sidewalk and sang “Happy Birthday to You.” They and my sister, Cynthia Slocum, all from Westerville, delivered flowers, gifts and sweets.

This distancing has been especially difficult for those living alone or in nursing homes. Stories abound of people holding up signs in windows at such places so residents know they are loved.

My neighbor, Ralph Johnston, recently turned 88, and his family put together a drive-by birthday celebration. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren drove by and brought gifts. Ralph shouted this information to me from his porch as I walked by with my dog.

I have learned more about frugality and appreciation for the plenty my husband and I usually have. We ordered online using home delivery from GFS, Meijer and Giant Eagle. The stores’ employees did wonderful jobs of putting our orders together and delivering them. We may continue this for some time.

They are frontline people taking extra precautions to provide what folks need.

I always have had high regard for health-care workers, and even more so now. Their needs for equipment and protective gear have skyrocketed. Walking into a hospital or making an emergency run immediately puts them at risk.

Gov. Mike DeWine (Ohio) and his team deserve praise for their quick action to protect Ohioans and keep us informed daily.

Author Laura Kelly Fanucci wrote of current times:

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted:

A handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theatre,

Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, the school rush each morning,

Coffee with a friend, the stadium roaring, each deep breath,

A boring Tuesday, life itself.

When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be,

We were called to be,

We hoped to be and may we stay that way,

Better for each other because of the worst.”

This month, we are easing back into business as usual, yet most of us realize “usual” might have changed permanently.

Face masks will be common, distancing ordinary, church services modified, shopping different.

We have been given a unique opportunity to look beyond ourselves and become united, though separate. Let’s hope the kindnesses we shared during these past few months remain.

That is the type of invasive, sweet-smelling action we always need.

I am only one…

“I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” Edward Everett Hale, American Clergyman and writer 1822-1909

This quote was in a memorial service program of a woman I grew up around the corner from in Westerville in the 50s and 60s.

I read about a woman who was employed in her adult life as a housekeeper in the White House. Each day she cleaned the Oval Office, she knelt and prayed for the president.

A small thing? Time wise, yes, but powerful .

One person, one prayer, something each of us can do. Maybe not in school any longer, but silent prayers are heard as well.

We all need kindness. Often the simplest act can make our day and these are typically done by one person. Someone opens the door for us, and smiles. A neighbor leans over the fence with a bag of red tomatoes (and probably zucchini!) from their garden. Somebody walking down the street replaces windblown garbage can lids. A friend calls to say hello. We receive a letter from our grandchild.

It doesn’t take much to make a person’s day a little brighter.

I always believed God let me become deaf for a reason. He allowed my two cochlear implants to restore my ability to hear clearly for that same reason: To enable me to listen and show His love one person at a time.

Reading the quote above, I know I can’t do everything – and don’t really want to – but it’s not all about me. No matter how small, or seemingly insignificant, I believe God is the orchestrator and someday it will all make sense.

Meanwhile, during these turbulent times in our country, each of us can do something. One day we will learn how the dots are connected and see the whole picture.