Terry from Derry: Kindness is Also Infectious
by Terry Boyle
To say that this is a trying time would be banal, if not cliched. We are all having to live our lives under constrictions and restrictions. There is not an area of our lives that has not been affected by this disease.
Normality, as we once knew it, is no longer operational. Everything is either broken, as shown in our economy, or under stress, such as the health services. We are socially isolated from those we love and our places of worship now a virtual experience. This is a new world in which we must be brave.
I know we’re all bored with binge watching T.V and frequenting our social media. The household tasks we had put off no longer now look appealing, distracting, and a good way to waste time. Our homes, which we used to think of as a sanctuary, can very easily feel like a prison.
Going to a store now requires us to sanitize ourselves and avoid touching anything. Our eyes, nose and mouth have become gateways to a virus that is as opportunistic as Donald Trump to demonstrate its ability to dupe us in every way possible.
I had hoped to avoid making this article about someone who may responsible for multiple deaths, and I will try to do that. There is more about life than wasting time on someone who obviously is inept and consumed with his ego.
I would like to spend some time on those people who put their lives on the line every day. There are those people who provide us with ‘essential services’ that, prior to this crisis, we thought of as non-essential. Shopkeepers, supermarket employees, and a host of service providers put themselves at risk daily so that we can get what we need. Among those who are at the front line are, of course, our health providers, nurses, doctors and cleaners.
It’s easy for us to become bystanders at a time when we need to get involved in helping. I titled this article ‘kindness is infectious’ for a reason. We all know that times of suffering can bring out the worst in people.
There are any number of examples of those who will think selfishly about their needs and wants but there are also those who are willing to step outside of the safety of their own comfort zones and help. How can we do this, google your options, speak to your pastor, and convert your good intentions into actions.
Volunteering Away Selfishness
For us, we had been volunteering at a local hospital before this crisis occurred. When the rate of infection began to gain momentum, the hospital could no longer put volunteers at risk. However, as medical supplies, particularly face masks, began to run low the hospital needed people to rally to their aid. Volunteers could now offer their help.
Since we cannot sew, our contribution lies with cutting material and elastic material, which is taken to those who can stitch it together. I use this example not as a way of showing how good we are but to encourage you to think of ways to help out.
Acts of kindness are infectious. Remember when we were bombarded with the phrase ‘pay it forward’? Today is a good time to resurrect this saying.
We can make a difference in people’s lives simply by doing a simple task, such as cutting material. It’s not brain surgery. There’s nothing very technical about it. It requires scissors and attention to detail. There are any number of simple acts of kindness that we can do that will improve the lives of those who are afflicted directly or indirectly by a disease that has cost the lives of many thousands.
Let’s not forget humour. In such a depressing time, I’ve been heartened by the many ways that people have sought to make us laugh. There have been videos, photos, and all sorts of levity that demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit.
I would like to add to this need for lightheartedness by offering a little self-effacing poetry (I use poetry in the broadest sense of the word). I’ve taken to writing my thoughts in this way, as my approach to journaling the experience. I hope that someday, God willing, that I can look back on this and laugh.
Ora Pro Nobis
By Terry Boyle
The daily visit with the angel of anxiety
Did not go well,
It seems, I’m not as strong as I thought,
Predictions, prophecies of plague and disease,
His usual arsenal of woes, almost wiped me out,
If those visions complete carnage did not kill me,
My imagination certainly would,
Is that cough, the rattle of death?
Yesterday, I was asymptomatic,
Fit and healthy but a walking virus spreader,
The mask I’m wearing is for your benefit,
Guilt, yes, guilty as charged,
I paid a shopper to cross the aisles
Put himself in danger so that I can eat,
While he worries about crossing into the next life,
This is progress, isn’t it, I asked my spiritual friend,
I find this non-directive approach maddening,
No, I’m no longer in denial,
The media has taken care of that,
24/7, guessing games of potential harm
Are a true mind (add expletive)!
Sure, I’m still angry, Ebola, Avian flu,
SARS, Bill (add expletive) Gates, all were clearly ignored,
Enough candles for a menorah,
Novenas to delight the famous and not so famous,
Prayer flags that would bring down the celestial Buddha,
Be assured, my flight into Ecumenism is wholeheartedly
Yes, I know, too much religion will make me depressed,
God, wrapped up in some straitjacket of doctrine, is enough
To do it,
No, I cannot simply accept your taunts as real,
I don’t care if you have inside track,
Or, the latest news on new mutations,
What I’ve learned from you is regret,
Things I’ve not said, life not fully lived,
Friendships not valued, and how did I ever
Underestimate how good it feels to be loved.