Change is a word that often strikes a note of fear in most of us, regardless of our age, regardless if it is personal or business, change can be unsettling. I remember in grade school each year having a little bit of anxiety wondering if my teacher would be nice. Change of the place where we live, change in our work, basically the unknown of things being different can be challenging. At this very moment, we are all experiencing change that we could have never dreamed of accepting, and finding our “new normal.”
Recently, I also realized that “change” can be something unexpected and inspiring. I live in a suburb of a large Metropolitan area were everyone is busy. We run in and run out of our homes, seldomly seeing our neighbors. In fact, it is not uncommon that we only know the immediate neighbors around us and never meet a neighbor across the street or a few doors away. I think we all grew up differently where everyone knew each other in the neighborhood and often gathered for cookouts, but those days were lost long ago.
Then suddenly CHANGE hits and a new term became commonly used- “shelter at home.” Isolated and cut off from family and friends, many of us turned to social media and apps to fill out time. I began seeing a lot of post on a national neighborhood connecting site asking if anyone knew where to buy certain items. Everyday the posts increased as people began to search simple staples such as bread, water and the gold plated item- toilet paper! It was a bit amusing the first day or so until you realized how scary it was becoming, people needing milk for children, eggs and meat to feed families. The search was becoming intense.
A few days later, change came again. I continued to read the posts daily and even made a post after 4 days of searching for egg. To my surprise, a man replied, “I couldn’t find eggs today but I found two boxes of Egg Beaters, you are welcome to one if you are out. Another post, an elderly woman asked about delivery. She needed food for her dog and immediately someone replied, “Message me. I have some and will put it on your porch.” Every day, these types of exchanges were taking place. It was amazing and it touched my heart although I never met any of these people. My community began to really feel like the neighborhoods of my childhood.
A young woman posted that she would be willing to shop for anyone who couldn’t, no charge. Soon, another young woman posted a photo of gift bags of food essentials ready to deliver to those in need. Women offering toys and snacks for single moms who couldn’t provide extra. Everyone became a “personal shopper” posting where they found items to help others. I saw a changed community. All ages, all races, all religions, all economic levels and no politics, just human beings reaching out to help fellow human beings. This “change” has been amazing and is continuing daily. In this case and in the worst times, change has been a bright spot of hope. Most of the people reaching out to help are women wanting to help other women. Mothers with children at home to feed or elderly women who are at risk are also helping in any way they can. While women seem to be the taking on the charge, I have also seen some amazing men reaching out to help.
Change is still hard, but how amazing to have strangers become neighbors and neighbors become friends. My sincere hope is to see this movement of kindness and support continue long after the world returns to the way things were, although- I hope not everything changes back.
Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash