Coming out of a year that had more horrific events than one could imagine, it’s not easy to think of 2020 as grace-filled. And yet, as I watched the sunset New Year’s Eve, color spread in fantastic patterns across the sky. The day had been cold and windy. And yet—now we were given a display of nature’s magnificence. Day is done. Closed. Tomorrow awaits: NEW.
What gives me hope and optimism for tomorrow is recalling the kindness of strangers, the re-connection with long-ago friends, and the reward of smiles and waves. Nicole Carroll, Editor-in-Chief for USA TODAY, closed her year with a series of uplifting stories captured by reporters covering everything from Sports to the Supreme Court, from Life to Science. The stories weren’t restrained by the reporter’s beats but rather because they looked wider for what captured hearts.**
Consider the Chicago reporter who found a 23 year-old who had been laid off her fast-food job. But being jobless didn’t stop Jennifer Tennyson from organizing love marches and setting up sidewalk tables to give free household goods to folks in neighborhoods hit hard by COVID-19, violence and economic fallout. Then there were legions of doctors, nurses and physical therapists who came here as undocumented children and were “Dreamers”. Yet they served patients, often without protective equipment, not knowing if they’d be deported. (Thankfully, the “Dreamers” won a 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court and in December, a federal judge ordered the program fully restored.)
There was the British army veteran who celebrated his 100th birthday while walking 100 laps around his garden to raise $1,250 for National Health Service staff and volunteers. The story went viral and Captain Sir Thomas Moore went on to raise $44 million. As he told the BBC, it’s for “the brave and super doctors and nurses we have got. They deserve every penny.”
And not to be outdone, Editor Carroll wrote of becoming a little teary when she heard Dr. Anthony Fauci tell a reporter that Santa was immune from the virus. “Santa is exempt because of all the good qualities has a lot of good innate immunity.” Phew. Little kids didn’t have to be worried when the nation’s leading expert on COVID-19 took time to reassure them.
Here’s the point. Live just one day at a time. Ask what is ONE thing you might do to brighten another’s day, to find a kernel of optimism for yourself, to go to sleep with a smile. We can begin: TODAY.
**Google USA TODAY Dec 31 and the headline: A panda cub, a beer, other moments of hope