The year has gone by in a strange haze. I’ve been baffled and befuddled, oftentimes despairing and despondent.
And now, we head toward autumn, and I’m thinking tonight about stories. For all that we’ve had to remain at home, isolated and imprisoned to some degree by fear, both for ourselves and others, there remain stories.
Stories of heartbreak and loss as someone is taken by Covid. Stories of fear and escape as people flee fires in Australia and California. Stories of destruction, wrath, rage, and wilful ignorance.
But there are other stories, too.
There are stories of courage when a cop sets an example, takes off his vest, and marches with his community. Stories about a small group of people who came together to help an elderly woman who had fallen on a sidewalk—people from various ethnic backgrounds whose primary focus was simply to do the right thing.
Stories of little businesses who figured out how to sell online and were wonderfully supported by their communities. Stories of friends who keep in touch more now than they used to. Stories of little things sent through the post to make people smile, to let them know they’re not alone.
Stories of writing groups and festivals that have gone virtual, allowing a global audience in a way no one had considered before. Stories of connections being made between authors and readers in new forums that are working really well.
A story of an author in need of help related to breast cancer and the enormous generosity of a community that gathered around and gave, helping that author receive potentially life saving treatment.
Yes, there is a lot of horror out there. Uncertainty and an unsettling worry about the future on many fronts still faces us all.
But how amazing to see the ways we’ve also come together. How amazing to see innovation and the determination to keep going. How amazing to see groups rally and provide advice and support about how to make things work. How amazing to see kindness and creativity and laughter, no matter the odds.
So, as I lay here contemplating stories, I hope you’ll do the same. Not to deny the dark, but to balance it with the light. And to remind you that your piece of the story matters too. Our stories, however brief, create a patchwork that can allow a window of hope in humanity, and you have no idea who your particular story may touch.
So share your triumphs as well as your tears. Support and be supported. It takes so little to be kind and make the world just that much better. Your story matters.