I was thinking about how much I seem to be “taking” these last two months—nearby friends shop for me, neighbors walk with me, albeit masked and 6-8 feet away, my kids check up on me, my oldest friends call a lot, my siblings and I talk more, from short texts to long catching up calls and people I don’t know well have made masks for me. I don’t do as much for others as they do for me, which is not the way things usually go.
While I was always saying thank you, that didn’t feel like enough. I began telling those around me how grateful I was for their kindness and thoughtfulness. And then a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I wanted to show my thanks and gratitude, not just say it. So, I have started my Gratitude Project. I began to tell those who are making my life so much safer that I would be donating to the COPE Foundation in honor of their kindness to me. And then I felt better. Doing something meant a bit more right now than saying something. I don’t know if I am right or not, but it felt that way for me.
I recently found this article in the Times, the Science of Helping Out, with a second line, “During a crisis, the people who cope best are those who help others.” Well, we at COPE, where we say the next level of healing is helping, have known that from trying to survive our own tragedies. I had needed to remember that those words would also be true in this life. And gratitude quiets the anxiety, the fear, confusion and helplessness that has taken over so much of our lives
I am honoring each person who has taken time out of their lives to make mine safer with a donation of $50.00 to COPE. I don’t know that it will make up for having to cancel all our fundraisers, but it will be a shout out to them and a way of paying it forward to COPE. And it does feel good to do something.
Anybody want to join me and recognize the kindness of those who are helping us during this crazy time? And this year, Giving Tuesday, normally at the end of the calendar year, is on Tuesday, May 5th. While many of us are worried and struggling, maybe we can still find a way to recognize that there is still room for gratitude in our lives, and do so for COPE.
Please take care, keep on washing your hands, practice physical distancing, become friends with FaceTime and Zoom, and even when you feel tired and down, call someone.
Stay in touch.