We are 118 days into 2020, and this year is already one for the history books. Within these three-and-a-half months, we as a world have seen President Trump acquitted of impeachment, wildfires burn in Australia, Kobe Bryant die via helicopter crash, Prince Harry and Meghan stepping down from royal duties and finally, the rise of Covid-19.
This year has treated us as a punching bag of sorts, with the pandemic forcing whole countries to shut down and virtually every citizen to quarantine. In America especially, the economy has tanked, with millions of people filing for unemployment and the price of a barrel of crude oil dropping to less than a dollar.
The world has really been put through the wringer this year, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Though the virus steals lives, people recover. For every one person starving there is a donor ready to give. Times are extremely tough, and each and every one of us is feeling the strain on our relationships and pocketbooks.
Pandemics are devastating; even the healthy are put under immense stress by the circumstances. A single mom serving as a nurse has to muddle through 14-hour shifts without anyone watching her kids. Parents who just lost their jobs have to deal with paying rent and homeschooling their kids while putting food on the table. College students are sent home and refused refunds for the remainder of their year, causing all their funds paid-in-advance to wash down the drain. Grocery store employees go to work every day for minimum wage, fearing that they might catch the virus. People with loans and mortgages struggle with the knowledge that even though interest on federal student loans are cancelled, the payments themselves are not.
Though this is a time of unimaginable suffering, the showcase of humanity and generosity has been astounding. People have a way of bonding together when things get tough, as seen in some of the heartwarming stories I’ve found.
We can start with the grocery stores that are offering “senior-only” shopping times to keep people in the danger bracket of the virus safe. Sam’s Club is also offering “Hero Shopping Hours” to healthcare workers whether they have a membership or not.
Sometimes ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference. Colonial Steakhouse in Arkansas saw a customer tip their entire stimulus check to the restaurant workers. A Chicago grandma has put her skills to work and has sewn 600 protective face masks, usually personalizing each for the future owner.
Sometimes stores will just do a little something extra to make this time lighter for all of us. Disney released their churro recipe to the public for fans to recreate, while IKEA published instructions on how to make their famous meatballs after people began experiencing cravings.
Those in power above us are not blind to our struggles, and while they are working as hard as they can to get things back to normal, they are also taking a little time to make life enjoyable, too. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered recently that couples will be “able to obtain marriage licenses remotely” after weddings have been cancelled or postponed. The order allows officiants to perform marriages over video conference call, with many people live-streaming it on Zoom.
Though this has been a trying, exhausting time, I pray that we do not lose courage. We must not underestimate the seriousness of this pandemic; we must not lose hope. That is all we have left.