Guest Post: The Power of One #CopingWithCovid19
For someone who never liked math, I find it ironic that my life focuses so heavily on numbers. Everyone’s does. The number on the scale. The number of candles on the cake. The number of steps taken or miles walked or run or biked or driven. The numbers on a report card. Birth numbers recorded in pounds and ounces and inches. Popularity numbers evidenced by followers on social media platforms. Medical numbers recorded with thermometers and blood pressure cuffs and devices that send out alarms if the numbers aren’t right.
Now there are new numbers to track: the number of COVID-19 cases reported daily and the grim numbers of deaths, the number of missed paychecks and the numbers in dwindling bank accounts, not to mention the numbers in a stock market that rise and plummet like kites on a windy day, causing investors like me to wonder about futures that once seemed secure.
What is it about numbers that make us cling to them, even in the fact of anxiety? Is it that they give us a measure of control over our lives— or at least the perception of it? Yet suddenly we have been catapulted into a time when everything feels out of control. Would now be a good time to step back from the scary numbers and focus instead on another number, a number that might actually bring a measure of peace? I’m talking about the number One. One is manageable. One isn’t overwhelming. One holds out the possibility of not only surviving but thriving when all else is fraught with uncertainty.
What if we offered up one act of kindness each day? What if we extended grace to one person instead of judgment— even if the person is just ourselves? What if we found one thing that made us and others laugh? What if we made one phone call to someone we haven’t talked to in awhile? What is we learned one new thing or honed one new skill that brings us joy? What if we found one new thing to appreciate about those who share our space? What if we spent one minute giving thanks for flowers that still bloom and birds that still sing and a sun that still rises and sets on the gift of another day? What if we spent one hour doing something that enlarges our soul? What if we spent one day unplugged from the devices that feed anxiety and listen to what Heavenly Parents might be telling us instead?
We are all characters in a story that has only begun to be written. The rising action is happening quickly, though we cannot know whether this will be a long story or a short one. The crises that unfold will be both global and personal before we come to some final resolution. And though we cannot shape the overall narrative, we can shape the sub plots— the small stories of our own lives that will reflect how we used this time and these circumstances—whether we acted courageously or not, whether we acted compassionately or not, whether we acted unselfishly or not, whether we acted wisely or not, whether we loved more generously or not— in short, whether we helped to write a story, measured in units of One, that brought catharsis to us all.
Cherie is a retired teacher, fundraiser, editor, reporter and occasional freelance writer who lives in rural south central Pennsylvania and relies on daily eBike rides to maintain her sanity.