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We are living in some pretty surreal times right now. Things are changing so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the news. Our daily routines have been upended, and our daily conversations with friends and family are all focused on the same topic: the coronavirus.
Few among us have ever lived through a crisis so intense and so global in nature. It’s no wonder that our stress and anxiety levels are through the roof. But humans are amazingly resilient and adaptable creatures. Even in the midst of all the uncertainty and chaos, people are finding beautiful ways to extend small kindnesses and create joy.
In Italy, a country especially hard hit by the pandemic, neighbors are serenading each other from balcony to balcony and filling the streets with uplifting music that belies their generous and indomitable hearts.
In communities all across America, people are reaching out to neighbors and strangers alike.
Younger, healthier people are offering to do the shopping for older folks who are more at risk for serious health complications and afraid to go into stores.
Communities are rallying around the small businesses whose survival is in jeopardy due to coronavirus shutdowns — buying gift certificates to keep these mom-and-pop eateries and shops afloat.
Young and seasoned musicians alike are roaming the streets or setting up on their porches to deliver impromptu concerts to audiences composed of people spaced the requisite six feet apart per social distancing recommendations.
Restaurant customers are leaving thousands of dollars — often anonymously — in tips to help struggling establishments pay their staff even while closed or reduced to minimal takeout-only operations.
Celebrities stepping up
And it’s not just regular folks who are showing such empathy and generosity. Sports, music, and other celebrities are stepping up in a big way.
Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Kevin Love donated $100,000 to help arena staff who were out of work due to event cancellations.
Actor Eric Stonestreet from the popular TV show “Modern Family” donated 200,000 meals to the Kansas City food bank.
Actors and astronauts are reading children’s stories out loud to help entertain the millions of kids stuck at home, Massimo Bottura — an Italian restaurateur and the chef patron of a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Italy — is giving delightful cooking lessons via his Instagram account. And countless musicians, from Willie Nelson to John Legend to Yo-yo Ma, are offering free, livestream concerts from their living rooms.
Sometimes, a crisis really does bring out the best in people.
The interesting thing is how forced isolation and social distancing actually seems to be bringing us all closer together. We are suddenly very aware of how connected we are to each other. We are realizing just how much we have taken for granted—meeting friends for coffee, holding hands, walking a crowded city street. We are awakening to the reality that the only way we will get through this is if we work together and look out for each other.
There is no question that this is a very trying time. People are scared and suffering. Each day we have to navigate unfamiliar territory. But out of great trials come great heroes, large and small.
We are all of us grateful for the many heroes from all walks of life who are stepping up to play a small part in making these days brighter for the rest of us. Whether that’s offering to run errands for an elderly neighbor or making a donation to a local food bank or sharing your art, every small gesture generates waves of positive vibes that ripple out to others. The coronavirus may be contagious, but so are love and kindness.
Brendan Daly is a principal and attorney at the law firm Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri, located at 15 Massirio Drive, Berlin.
His firm provides estate planning, elder law, probate, litigation and special needs planning services.