Appreciation

I was watching MeTV the other night. Familiar with it? It’s the channel that hosts all the old shows – Leave It to Beaver, Perry Mason, My Three Sons, the Carol Burnett Show, and Gunsmoke to name a few. This particular evening The Andy Griffith Show came on. The show’s plot – a stranger’s car broke down in Mayberry on a Sunday. Try as he may, he couldn’t get anyone to fix the car because – well, it was Sunday. People were in church, spending time with family or just sitting on the front porch strumming a guitar and singing like Sheriff Andy and Barney Fife were doing. This stranger, who had an important meeting to get to, ranted, raved, threatened and cajoled everyone he could to fix his car but to no avail because, well, it was Sunday. Hollywood ending – the car got fixed but the stranger learned an important lesson of the value of kicking back, relaxing and just ‘enjoying’.

COVID-19 has changed our lives. Do we wish it never happened? Of course. But it has and we will survive it, learn from it and maybe, just perhaps, be better because of it. How can a pandemic make us better? What have these weeks in quarantine done FOR us? They’ve taught us, among many things, to appreciate.

We’ve learned to appreciate the people in our lives – spouses, kids, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors. If we can hug them – we do and feel so lucky to do so. If we can’t, because we’re socially distant, we look through windows, blow kisses, form hearts with our hands, mouth ‘I love you’ and anything else we can think of just so we can touch them…even from a distance.

We’ve learned to appreciate the people we see every day – grocery clerks, long-haul truck drivers, delivery people, fast-food servers, maintenance people, lawn services, cashiers, trash collectors, mail carriers and all those who have been working so we can stay home.

We’ve learned to appreciate the human capacity for generosity. People are digging deep into their pockets and giving what they can. Others are reaching deep into their hearts and ‘giving back’ by doing what they can – sewing masks, smocks, running errands for neighbors and much more. Even businesses, large and small, are stepping up to the plate to do what they can.

We’ve learned to appreciate the selflessness of many professionals – doctors, nurses, med techs, researchers, EMT’s, firefighters, and police who put their lives on the line every single day to help all of us. These ‘heroes’ work 10-15 hours a day, and some, because of the fear of infecting their families, sleep on a cot or in their car but not at home in the comfort of their own bed like we do.

We’ve learned to appreciate the teachers and educators who are using their creativity to keep students, at all levels, engaged and up to speed with their studies. They’re doing their best to make the learning impactful, fun and relevant so, when life returns to normal, students are in front of the eight-ball and not behind it.

We’ve learned to appreciate the entertainers who keep the music flowing; parents who make a mountain out of sheets and a home gym out of water bottles, buckets and poles to keep their kids entertained and all the YouTube ‘creators’ who sing songs, write skits and post messages to help all of us laugh, smile and keep our sanity intact!

We’ve learned to say THANK YOU for every small and large act of kindness.

The stranger was fortunate that his car broke down in Mayberry. Fortunate is not a word I would use with COVID-19 however, we would be remiss if we didn’t learn something during these unique times that makes us better, stronger and more thankful for all the blessings we have. Stay well.

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