Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
We are used to doing what we feel like doing. If Tim and I feel like going out to dinner, we go. If we feel like seeing a movie, we head to the theater. If I feel like shopping for shoes, I go to the store. (Tim never feels like shopping.) If we feel like seeing friends, we invite them over.
Now if we feel like going out to dinner, we set up a table and chairs outside. If we feel like seeing a movie, we scroll through Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime. If I feel like shopping, I stay home and save money. If we feel like visiting, we log onto FaceTime or House Party. Or we invite our one neighbor over to stand at the bottom of the porch to chat.
We can choose abundance over scarcity. We can choose solutions instead of problems. We can choose creativity over rigidity. We can choose hope over despair. We can choose to share our talents rather than bury them while we wait out this pandemic.
If you are a good listener, call a friend. If you are a good cook or baker, hit the kitchen. If you are a gardener, prep that soil. If you a sewer, make masks. (Thank you to all mask makers everywhere and to my sister Eileen who made us three beautiful masks.)
If you have the means to be charitable, give. If you can help a neighbor, help – from a distance. If you are a reader, have at it! If you are an artist, storyteller, musician, computer geek, or writer, hone your craft. If you are an event planner, get planning. If you are a faith-filled soul, join a prayer group or prayer chain or pray on your own. It is your choice.
We always get to choose – not necessarily what we do – but how we are. Yesterday I had a dark, foreboding feeling – this social isolation is getting too long. Then I realized, it will end. In the meantime, we get to reach out, connect, spark innovation, practice patience, challenge ourselves, learn, appreciate wit, and pray, especially for the sick, the lonely, the elderly, and their miraculous caregivers.
Gratitude – for great family, friends, mentors, colleagues, neighbors, artists, and strangers – fills my heart with amazing faith in the human spirit. We get to choose courage, resilience, and generosity during this time. And that feels good – way better than dinner out or a new pair of shoes.