By Joe Rector

COVID-19 has just about worn all of us out. We aren’t used to being confined for such long periods of time. Many people haven’t been out except to the grocery store for a year. Yes, some have developed rather snippy, hateful dispositions, but although such behavior is never acceptable, it is understood. What I have noticed during these months is that the kindness of many human souls has eased some of the hard times.

Amy sent me to the grocery store the other day in search of blueberries. I hopped in the car and enjoyed the ride outside of Ball Camp. Once there, I strapped on my mask and retrieved a big bag of the berries. Circles on the floor showed folks where to stand to safely distance, and I found my mark. A younger man with a loaded cart looked at me and told me to go ahead of him since I only had one item. The person in front of him had his groceries on the conveyor belt but told me to go ahead of him as well. In no time, I was in and out and on the way home.

It seems that people are more aware of others around themselves. They aren’t in such a hurry to complete tasks and get back home. Our inabilities to communicate with others on a daily basis makes those times when we are together more special. People want to be nice to each other. They want to soak in the company of others, even if doing so demands a mask and six feet. Maybe I’m just naïve; perhaps people are really allowing others to go ahead of them because they don’t want to return to their confinement. I like the first idea better.

Most of us who are alive today had never faced a crisis like our parents did. The Great Depression caused families to lose homes, jobs, and food supplies. Now, we see the same kind of events befalling our world. It’s nice to see how many people are working to make sure others have enough to eat. Food distributions, large and small, have helped parents provide food for their children. We agonize when the photos of hungry children are flashed on the television screen or across the newspaper. The concern and call to action to help others is surely something the good lord sees and blesses with a smile.

Politics had gotten in our way for a few months, but now, it seems that many of the divisions between families and friends have disappeared. Conversation topics turn more to family members’ well-being and good health. We all want to receive a vaccination as soon as possible, but we want them for our families before ourselves. Even social media posts are kinder and gentler. Prayers for those who are in the throes of illness dominate. A lost dog’s photo pops up in hopes that owners and pets can be reunited; the finders keep the pooches at their houses as long as possible and love and feed them.

Controlling this raging pandemic is my prayer. I’d like for the world to regain some of its balance. However, I’d also include in my prayer the wish that the kindness, goodwill, and concern among people continues. Whether a storm of disease of any other tragedy befalls us, I hope we’ve learned that each of us is the other’s brother or sister. A vaccination of kindness against indifference is a world-changing thing as well. Be safe and take care of each other.