I am an optimist. It is the way that I come to terms with the world around me. I won't stop looking until I can find the bright side of a situation. Otherwise, I'll be honest, things can just be too much for me to handle. I am a worrier by nature and in day to day life I constantly have a million things running through my head at any given time. For me, when things seem out of my control, I take back control by changing the way I see a situation. I will admit, the situation we have at hand currently has really tested my ability to find the bright side. It did take me some time to sort through all of my thoughts and emotions sprinting through my mind. But a few days ago I had some clarity and it gave me a small sense of peace, and by no means am I saying this is a "good thing", but I do think there are some things we can learn from this. So today I wanted to share with y'all the way that I have found the "bright side" in the hopes that it helps someone else like me with a worried mind and an anxious heart.

All around the world, we are being forced to slow down. We are being forced to simplify. To cancel plans. To skip work and school. We cannot travel, we cannot shop, we cannot go to concerts or movies. We are collectively having to think about what we really and truly need.

As I sat down at the dinner table last night, I thought about how long it had been since my whole family was together, eating dinner, just like we did when I was a kid. And I thought about how all around the world, right now, families are sitting together and eating dinner, possibly for the first time in years. I thought about the children who have parents that work all the time and they never see, sitting down to dinner with them. There is power in that.

As I sat outside on my porch, I closed my eyes and listened. In all of my life living at home, I have never heard more birds singing or more people outside. As I opened my eyes and looked around, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had just sat. Just to be there in the moment. Nowhere to go, nowhere to be. And I realized all around the world, people were doing the same thing. There is power in that.

As I scrolled through Instagram yesterday, I realized that I have never seen more positivity on one platform. People reminding one another to help in their communities, thanking doctors, thanking grocery workers, sending donations. It is hard to look through more than a few posts without seeing someone thanking or thinking of someone other than themselves. There is power in that.

The news is scary now, and that is understandable. But what we are not always seeing is the stories of love and compassion that are coming out of this terrible situation. So watch the videos of people singing to each other in Italy, read about the Chinese doctors sending supplies and medical staff to countries who need it the most, read about the neighbor who delivers food to her elderly neighbors, think about the penguins being let out of their cages in the Chicago zoo, the dolphins that appeared in Venice canals, or the dog who sprained his tail shaking it too hard because he was so happy his owners were home every day. Look for these stories, read them and think about them. Because in the midst of all this chaos and tragedy, real beauty is occurring. Stories of unbelievable love and compassion for one another.

Here is the thing, and stay with me here, what if this is meant to teach us all a lesson? The world was going so fast, everyone climbing over each other to get to the next step, families fighting over politics, over shootings, over money. The world was so divided. And all of a sudden we are being forced to realize how little control we really have and how small the world really is. The entire planet, every person, no matter race, gender, political party or level of wealth is dealing with the same, scary, problem. All of a sudden, it doesn't seem so divided anymore.

When we come out of this; because one day we will. I hope after we pick up the pieces, we can realize a few things. Life is short, and nothing is a promise. We have such little control over the world around us. The most important thing in the world is family, and keeping your family safe and healthy is all we truly want. I hope we realize that there is actually not a lot we really need. I hope we continue to call and check in on our family members more, and our neighbors. I hope we continue to value grocery clerks, delivery men and women, teachers, and doctors more. And I hope we never forget how blessed we really are. Those of us that have a roof over our heads and food on the table are realizing that that is all we need, and it is enough. So I hope more of us can smile, and take gratitude in our new reality because at the end of the day we are all in this together.

Lastly, here is a poem I read a few days ago that made me smile, I hope you all enjoy it too.

Lockdown by Brother Richard:

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,