Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength. Sabaa Tahir from an "Ember in the Ashes."
This is such a moment, a gripping, challenging time in the world. The Surgeon General has called this the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 Moment.
Friends are diagnosed with coronavirus, some are hospitalized, some even go on ventilators. A physician friend of mine has said that not all heroes wear capes--this most assuredly applies to all of our health care workers at every level, people who put their own lives on the line for others even as essential supplies are limited.
Workers continue to go to their companies every day, doing things that they had not expected in the face of the virus. Retooling to accommodate today's needs. Heroes, stocking shelves, checking people out of the grocery store, delivering food and medicine to area families.
Restaurants changing their whole approach--no touch pizzas, no contact foods--all delivered to our doorsteps.
Schools teaching via video...churches the same.
CEOs of small businesses worrying about their workers and how they will pay them, how they will bring them back? Can we survive and keep our business open? Getting creative in the face of their fears.
Lines are long at the food banks--miles long. People are wondering what next for their families? Where will food come from? How can i feed my children--this is one of the biggest fears of all if you have ever faced it. Where will we get money? Can we hang on to our housing? How can our kids continue to learn? Can we survive this virus with our lives intact?
And volunteers come to the rescue--in the hundreds they show up and are extraordinary. They call where they are most needed even in the face of this virus. Wearing a variety of facial covers that mask their kindness and gentle spirits, they are making food, filling boxes, delivering and providing things that are absolutely necessary to the lives families, neighbors, friends. They are staring down the virus.
Fortunately, during such tough times real political leaders emerge. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's press briefings can be compared to FDR's fireside chats, giving everyone important information, relying on data to guide his directives, fighting hard to get the supplies that NY needs during this time, providing life saving action, acknowledging issues and sharing his approach, all with such a visceral generosity of spirit. Straight talk. His courage and determination are contagious.
Many of the governors are doing the same. Working together to fight for the lives of their citizens. Insisting on sheltering-in even as people and groups and national politicians resist it.
Foundation leaders, corporate leaders, individuals, all are stepping up.
We can do nothing more than grit our teeth to get through this. But as you are thinking of others, watching vignettes about area heroes, just be a hero yourself. Take a major step on the trek: Make a donation to your local food bank, or to a hospital for essential supplies, or to a family in need who you know or a church or a favorite organization.
Not sure, don't know where to give or how to do it? Go on-line, visit your community foundation (with others, The Pittsburgh Foundation has established an Emergency Action Fund), a local food bank, an area hospital, a special initiative set up by corporations (Koppers Cares About Communities is a global initiative) or your United Way.
A donation doesn't have to roar, sometimes it can have a quiet voice that joins with other quiet voices to create a powerful impact on the lives of many people.
Throughout my career, I have believed that one gift is a magnet for others. But that gift has to start with someone...If we don't do it now, when will there be a better time?
Donations, volunteerism, friendship, prayer. This is the bravery we must all have now. The courage to step ahead of our fears and reach out to others. Do something to ensure that others feel supported. It will come back to you ten-fold and it's an important way to come through this journey successfully. We simply cannot afford to do less.
Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. R.J. Palacio, "Wonder."