View of Mount Robson - about a three hour drive east of where I live. Rarely seen without a 'toque' of cloud it is always a delight to see it in full.
I am not a Pollyanna, far from it. I'm far too pragmatic. That doesn't mean I don't look for silver linings in clouds, or neglect to see rainbows.
I am a cautious optimist, I suppose. I believe that people can be, and frequently are, kind and helpful. But I also know that sometimes people are frightened, stressed and angry. How do I know? Because I can get stressed and impatient and lash out. I don't like myself much when I do, and every time I vow to do better, be better.
Just like I expect the people I interact with to also try to do better, be better.
What I have learned over the years is that not everyone wants to. Perhaps it is their upbringing - they have just been wounded too often in their lives to ever trust that people aren't out to take advantage of them. Or they have bought into the story that in order to make their way up the ladder of success (or just survival) they must do it over the backs of everyone else. I don't know.
Stressful times will shine a light on those who will shove everyone else aside and put themselves first. Stressful times will also bring out the best in some people.
So while I am stressed right now - just like every other person on the planet - I try to find the helpers. The cheerleaders. The fixers. The problem solvers.
Most of all I try to be that.
There was a meme going around on Facebook not too long ago: Just because someone carries it well doesn't mean it isn't heavy.
So I also try to reach out to those who appear to be coping and give them encouragement. I know people with children who are struggling right now. In the past couple of weeks I have told them that they are doing an awesome job, that they are terrific parents. One person nearly melted in tears, so I knew that they needed to hear that, right here, right now.
I don't do it every day, but I try to reach out several times a week, letting people know I am thinking about them. Applaud the grace with which they are carrying a heavy load. I have made small donations to some efforts.
Mostly I stay home as much as possible and keep myself out of the line of transmission. And very much appreciate when someone reaches out to tell me that I'm helping them.
Currently reading The Wood Wife by Terri Windling