Follow the Yellow Brick Road to our new reality.
Welcome to our new reality. Wow, what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been. It's kind of amazing how quickly things can turn upside down. It reminds me of the classic line in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy says, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." In fact, it does feel as if we've been blown around by a tornado and landed on a strange new planet.
The question is how do we get back on the yellow brick road? How and when will we return to a feeling of normalcy? It may take a while, I'm afraid. That's the scary part. The future feels a bit like the Wicked Witch of the West, holding us tightly in her grasp: "I'll get you, my pretty." We don't know when she'll let go.
So rather than fret and worry about what the future holds, we are learning to live in the present, most of us staying home until the worst has passed. We can be like Dorothy and encourage ourselves to be better and do better. We can learn from the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to focus on the things that matter.
The Scarecrow discovered he did have a brain, and so do you. Use this downtime to read the books you've been wanting to or learn a new language with a computer app. Go to Khan Academy or Yale University or any number of academic websites and learn something new: math, history, literature. You can also check out the websites of museums, both locally and nationally. I found some really cool activity sheets about artists on the National Gallery of Art's website. Fun for kids and adults!
Then there's the Tin Man, who discovered he had a heart. Use this time to reach out to loved ones, friends, and family whom you haven't had time to talk to lately. It can be lonely sitting at home, so if you know people who are single, widowed, or divorced, now's a great time to check in with them on a regular basis and make sure they're doing well.
You can also volunteer to help in many ways. Meals on Wheels always needs delivery drivers. Also my friend Heidi Hicks Jeffreys is involved in a group called #CoronaAid757, which also needs volunteers to deliver groceries to people in need. You can join the group on Facebook. Don't forget your neighbors, especially the elderly. When you have to go shopping, call and ask if you can pick something up for them. Better yet, take by a home-cooked meal.
The Cowardly Lion found courage on his journey to Oz. This is probably the hardest thing for all of us right now: feeling brave in the midst of a crisis. I think the thing to do is to remind yourself that you've been in tough spots before and you survived. Just knowing that this too shall pass will help you get through the rough patches.
And before long you'll be back in Kansas, and you'll be stronger and better for making this incredible journey. We're all in this together, folks. Let's be kind to one another, maintain social distancing, and remember to wash your hands. Sending you virtual hugs.