We're going to have to help one another through the chaos of this pandemic
Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

We're all feeling the stress and strain of the pandemic sweeping the planet, the likes of which we've never seen in our lifetimes. Life as we know it has shifted quickly, everything feels shaky, and people are understandably anxious.

There are also many of us who have extra cause for concern or caution, due to advanced age, compromised health, or financial fragility. While this crisis is undeniably hard on everyone, it's extra challenging for those who are at high risk from the virus or who are unduly affected by the economic implications of it all.


If this pandemic is proving anything to us, it's that we are all in this together. All truly meaning all. And if there was ever a time to go out of our way to be there for one another, this is it.

A story on Twitter this week illustrated this idea perfectly. Rebecca Mehra shared how she was walking into the grocery store when she heard a woman's voice yell to her from a car. When Mehra walked over to the car, she found an elderly woman and her husband sitting there.

"She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store," Mehra wrote. "Afraid to get sick as they are in their 80's and hear that the novel coronavirus is affecting older people disproportionately. And that they don't have family around to help them out. Through the crack in the window she handed me a $100 bill and a grocery list, and asked if I would be willing to buy her groceries."

"I bought the groceries and placed them in her trunk, and gave her back the change. She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 min before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help."

"I know it's a time of hysteria and nerves, but offer to help anyone you can," Mehra added. "Not everyone has people to turn to."

And there's the crux of it. Everyone is affected by this, and not everyone has people to turn to. We can either turn a blind eye to folks who need help, or step in to offer it.

The truth is that times of crisis can bring out the best or the worst in human beings. We all need to decide which it's going to be, and we need to decide now. It's not likely that things are going to get easier over the next several weeks, so now's the time for those of us who are able to reach out and let our fellow humans know we're there for them.

The first thing we can do to "love thy neighbor" is to heed the advice of medical professionals to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible. Wash hands religiously. Don't touch your face. Practice social distancing as much as possible.

But those of us who aren't as vulnerable as others can also think about proactive ways we can help. If we're young and healthy or if our family is young and healthy, can we run errands for those who aren't? If we have the means to stock up on groceries, are we able to offer assistance to those who don't? Is it possible to direct the money we'd normally spend on whatever is currently being canceled to help those who might not make ends meet this month?

These kinds of questions are vital to maintaining a sense of community, especially when we're asked to physically be apart as much as possible.

What's awesome is that people's better angels are hard at work already. For instance, I've seen beautiful ideas for helping others floating around such as:

  • Turning Little Libraries in people's yards into Little Food Pantries temporarily
  • Delivering flyers around the neighborhood letting people know you are available to run errands or grocery shop for those at high risk
  • Hosting online fundraisers for individuals whose livelihood is being deeply impacted by widespread shutdown—performers, small retailers and restaurateurs, etc.
  • Setting up neighborhood Facebook groups to keep communication flowing and offer a socially-distanced place to go for assistance
  • Tipping delivery people extra
  • Ordering from restaurants to support businesses impacted by coronavirus
  • Offering free childcare for parents who still have to physically go to work during school closures
  • Checking in with elderly and ill neighbors to make sure they are stocked with medications

No individual or family is an island, and it's increasingly clear that no country is an island in the proverbial sense, either. As the world figures out how to work together to get through this pandemic with as little collective damage as possible, we can do the same thing on a neighborhood level.

If we all take a community-minded approach to this worldwide crisis, it will all go so much smoother—and maybe we'll come out better for it on the other side.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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