We're living in the best and worst of times.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."
Many of my more religious friends have been declaring to me for some time now that God is trying to get our attention. They cite the continuing decline in membership of the universal church along with a marked decline of morality being demonstrated in the public-at-large to support their premise.
Well, how and why we got here -- here we are, living in some pretty troubling times, but I'm suggesting that some of our finest hours can be realized amidst this nightmare.
Since March, political turmoil coupled with COVID-19 has seen friends and even families literally turn on each other. Our educational system has been turned upside down. We're facing unprecedented unemployment. Roughly one-third of all small businesses will never reopen. Retail business is operating at far less than capacity. The national economy isn't stable and I haven't even heard mention of the national debt lately, which has always been the guardrail system of warning against frivolous spending.
All the uncertainty notwithstanding, those of us living at ground level can personalize the ebb and flow of human behavior surrounding and influencing us. Each of us can sense the change of those in our respective orbits.
True, people are on edge, ready to blow up, but, in an instant, mistrust can turn to understanding and compassion.
The wearing of masks sometimes brings about an aloofness and some mistrust. But, upon seeing an unmasked face I've observed some cordiality and genuine human stuff occurring between people.
Think about it.
Peoples' hearts aren't as hardened as perhaps you might think.
For example, last month during the NBA Playoffs we found out that Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets gave a restaurant inside the Bubble in Orlando an $8,000 tip!
Undoubtedly, such generosity was triggered by the times and someone of means stepped up.
Food pantries are stepping up, more than usual, to help people. Neighbors, including mine, are openly calling and approaching each other, inquiring if anyone needs food or assistance.
Personally, I witnessed a man offering to help a couple who were noticeably struggling over how to pay for medicine at a pharmacy location.
I'm witnessing human caring I haven't seen before. And, all of it is not necessarily monetarily or materially.
When was the last time I told my dry cleaners that I miss them, and likewise? We're helping each other spray and wipe shopping carts in grocery stores. I'm noticing that people are more willing to lend assistance. Panhandlers are not being viewed with the same disdain they often suffer.
Seemingly, people are looking to be more courteous.
Though most of our places of worship are closed, members and leaders are calling, texting, checking up on members and each other.
The pandemic is causing much of this kind of activity, but it sure feels good! There appears to be more sincerity amongst us these days as we fist bump and exchange pleasantries.
Do you notice that neighbors aren't as concerned about cutting their grass exactly up to their neighbor's property line these days?
It's just not that important.
In fact, my neighbors and I find ourselves mowing more of each other's lawns than ever before.
Talk about an even playing field, we're witnessing it now more than ever because we're literally in this thing together, for real.
As long as there are variances within the human spirit we can't ever expect Shangri-La to appear on earth or some utopia of understanding exist between people, but these unusual times are showing us that we can be better toward each other.