In this time of great uncertainty and instability, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the influence of social media and the continuous cycle of coronavirus-related news. Whilst the gravity of our current situation should not be underestimated, it is essential that we are able to recognise the strength of the human spirit and appreciate the little things that uplift us and give us hope.
You needn’t look very far to find examples of courage, faith, and optimism exhibited across the world.
Closer to home, each day I am inspired by the thoughtfulness and compassion shown throughout my local community. I am grateful for the simple, everyday acts of kindness that bring some comfort in this time of need.
It is ensuring that everyone’s basic needs are met by sharing essential items or offering to pick up necessities at the grocery store. It is the outpouring of support and reassurance for the young person who moved to pursue work in the city and suddenly found themselves with significantly reduced hours and growing bills to pay.
It is the sense of belonging that is created by connecting with others through a virtual neighbourhood social group. It is the dedicated twice-weekly check-ins, providing a safe space for neighbours to share their worries or concerns, ask for help or exchange ideas.
It is the squeals of laughter from the younger members of our community as they ‘hunt for bears’ or spot rainbows in the windows of our homes, symbols of joy and hope and solidarity. It is the video broadcasts dedicated to reporting good news stories and positive communal experiences, uploaded daily by a father and his young sons.
It is the neighbour who bakes six extra sourdough loaves every morning, to be shared amongst (and sometimes fought over by) local families. It is the offering of homegrown produce, the loan of a lawnmower, or provision of a laptop stand. It is taking the time to reach out, connect, and ask, “how are you, are you ok?” It is the smile, the wave, the nod of recognition as you pass (at 1.5m) a previously unfamiliar face on your afternoon stroll.
In this time of ambiguity and increasing isolation, it is easy to feel anxious, worried and scared. As we continue to face these growing challenges, we must recognise our shared humanity and embrace the strength and resilience that communities bring.
For when we are connected, we are stronger. When we are together, we are not alone.