There is beauty all around us. All we have to do is look, and not very hard. Like a smoke-filled room, that beauty is suppressed and rendered invisible by the fog of imposed ugliness that seems to surround us, and that we embrace willingly. Ugliness in the form of bad news cycles, nasty presidential campaigns, partisan divides that have turned into chasms with what seems like no way back. People fighting in the aisles for toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitizer. Innocent people trying to make their way along this path called life gunned down in urban neighborhoods, with mothers and fathers crying during the daylight and nighttime hours over their profound loss.
I could make a list that would go on forever, but no one needs me to do that, they can make it themselves. All we have to do is search the darkness within and without, there is plenty to find. I keep asking myself why it’s easier to find the darkness than the light and I can’t come up with an answer other than we, as humans, seem predisposed to darkness. We, in some strange macabre way crave it. We look upon those that wish to pierce that darkness with light as though they are the ones that are in need of help or a reality check. They are the ones that need our help, the blind leading those with sight. It makes no sense.
We are force fed the grotesque, the inky darkness, and we drink it up as though it is our salvation. We wallow in it, and our own self-pity, allowing it to weight us down to the point of despair; a despair so deep that the pit cannot be surmounted. The unfortunate part is most of us never realize how close we are to the light. All we have to do is reach for it, less than arms distance, and it is there.
So, here is my light today.
In the midst of the quarantine in Italy, a man begins to play the piano on his balcony. My Heart Will Go On is the song. Soon, he is joined by another who accompanies on his saxophone, and then another on his electric piano. In a few minutes, cheers from the people standing on their balconies as the music enters their quarantined life, a lifeline of beauty in a sea of sadness. For a few minutes, the flower blooms, and people smile, grateful for the relief given as though coming up for air just before drowning.
Two elderly people afraid to exit their car for fear of virus exposure wait. They wait for someone to help them get needed groceries from the store. Finally, a young woman walks by and the couple lowers their window just a bit. They call out and the she approaches. They explain their situation and without hesitation, the young woman takes the hundred-dollar bill from the barely open window and does their shopping for them, no questions asked.
People over-tipping their servers in the last days of restaurants being open for they know those in the hospitality industry will soon be without income. Volunteers at schools packing food in boxes for those students and families who are in need. Companies, both large and small, paying their workers even though they are not working, just because it’s the right thing to do. Young people checking up on their elderly neighbors just because it, too, is the right thing to do.
People sharing their goods, their expertise, their time with those less fortunate, irrespective of this virus pandemic. Unrecorded random acts of kindness because they won’t be seen and that’s the way they like it. Prayers, songs, and a smile.
Just take a look around, but this time, open your eyes and concentrate on the beauty that is about you if you can. There will be time for the darkness, there always is. But for the briefest of moments, allow yourself to find the daisy on the battlefield. It will remind you that all is not lost, humanity is not a cesspool of despair, and we will go on.
Time is short. Shorter than most of us realize. Let’s not waste it immersed forever in negativity. Rather, let us find the sunshine and feel the warmth it provides, even if only a few minutes. Then, allow those minutes to turn to hours, and then to days. We will all be the better for it.