Okay, so since I shared my last post, Coronavirus: I’m not gonna let you stress me out, I actually did the opposite. I’ve been stressing, people. Big time. I’m sorry. I’ve tried to stay away from social media, the overwhelming onslaught of news articles, but I feel as though it’s inescapable. The anxiety is nearly impossible to lift. We are living in a very uncertain space right now. And the dang toilet paper shortage put me over the edge (we are on our last two rolls…sigh).
Granted, I am a worrier by nature.
The mature, balanced part of me knows that worry can serve a function. It can tell us when we need to pay closer attention to something. It can indicate when something is off and needs to be cared for. It helps us get things done, in a way. But an overactive sense of worry? That spidey sense comes with a suitcase filled with challenges.
So I worried.
I worried about not having enough food to feed my family. I joined in the masses of worried neighbors navigating the supermarkets, looking to pad their pantries in light of an impending quarantine. As a true worry wart, I hit the markets, hoping to feel a bit more empowered during the growing chaos. Hoping to get a better grasp on my preparedness. In case our family needed to further isolate ourselves, the worry would have been worth it. Pushing a loaded cart through the masses, my gaze drank in more stress than I could stand. The shelves, the lines, the people, all felt so…unsettled.
But in the midst of it all, my two year-old in tow began to act her age.
No, I don’t mean the tantrum side (thank goodness), but the beautiful, innocent, full-of-life side. She began to belt out Frozen tunes in the aisles of BJs. She gleefully made up her own version of “If you’re happy and you know it” and taught her 10 month-old baby sister how to clap along. Oblivious to all of the stress around her, she became a helper.
In the frantic frenzy buzzing around us, I immediately thought of the Mr. Roger’s quote. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” This precious little tot was a bigger helper than she would ever realize. She was spreading a very needed and effortless joy towards everyone in her radius.
Her helper spirit was contagious.
Shoppers around us began to smile more. Two young women helped shuffle some carts around us so we could navigate through a crowded area. Vexed couples waiting to check out began to crack a smile, and even, dare I say, a giggle. It was light. It was sweet. It was pure. It was exactly what we needed.
Slowly, I noticed more helpers.
Worried adults taking turns in line. Strangers offering sympathetic smiles. I watched an impatient woman take a deep breath and compassionately warm as she held open a freezer door for an elderly man. THIS is what it means to be human. We are born helpers.
No matter how bad things get, we always have the choice to be kind and to help.
I cannot guarantee that my worry during this Coronavirus pandemic will ever be lifted. But I don’t really have time to worry about that either. For now, all I can do is my best and be a helper.
And you can too.