The Golden Rule Virus


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by: Kelly Smith, Marketing Director

Yesterday, while working from home, I’ll admit feeling the most anxious about the growing state of concern surrounding the COVID-19 situation. Intentionally not watching or listening to the news, I had plans to focus on my work and tune this whole mess out in the safe sanctuary of my home.

And then the tailspin….

Inevitably, the phone rang. Not just once, but three times.  First, my sister from Portland, whose husband is a hospitalist in one of the city’s ICUs. Then a friend called from Orange County, deeply concerned because the beaches packed with people still enjoying warm spring sun just 2 days ago are now deserted. The 3rd call came from my mom who lives in Seattle, the epicenter of this thing on the West Coast and on a typical day is vibrant with activity now feels like a ghost town.

As my anxiety started to spiral and my concern for family and friends in high-density cities skyrocketed, I heard squealing outside my living room window in front of my house in Josephine Crossing. 

What I saw in the pocket park— 

  • kids playing baseball in the sunshine 
  • whole families walking on the sidewalks—pushing strollers, trailing dogs on leashes, and toddlers rushing to keep up with Mom and Dad
  • Kids pointing in delight at four-leaf clovers taped up inside windows on a Shamrock Hunt
  • Greetings and drawings in sidewalk chalk in front of neighbors’ homes spreading love and good cheer to those who might need it most during this time
  • Neighbors chatting over a glass of wine on the sidewalk (at a safe distance) while the kids rode their trikes around the park

What I felt—

  • Connection at a time of isolation
  • Hope in a time of fear
  • Resilience when I felt powerless
  • Surrender to something I cannot control

As I walked my dog that morning along the Yellowstone River in Billings, MT, I soaked up as much Vitamin D from the rising sun as I could. I took conscious deep breaths to loosen the knot that has taken residence in my gut these past few days. 

The Power of a Virus

My head started to clear from the fresh air filling my lungs, and I couldn’t help but think that if a virus like COVID-19 could drive this much fear and scarcity-thinking, what kind of impact could a virus of love have? Could we essentially destroy the darkness around us with the light from each of our human spirits? Could we crush the fear virus with a wave of compassion for each other? 

If the simple act of washing our hands kills coronavirus, how much more powerful would acts of goodwill to our neighbors wash away our feelings of desperation? If our fear-based thoughts cause us to behave irrationally (i.e. the run on toilet paper), how powerful could our prayers full of compassion and hope be? 

In the absence of church services, school days, civic meetings, workplaces, bars and restaurants, sporting events, and support groups, you’d think we’d be in danger of losing all human engagement. But that is not what I witnessed in Josephine Crossing today. That is not what I witnessed in Annafeld when I drove through to put a sign up saying the model home will be open for personal tours only.

The Power of ONE

In times like this, we remember the importance of neighbors and just how critical our communities become to our well-being. As humans, we are not meant to live in social isolation. Though we don’t know how long this isolation will last, I do know that we are wired to come together in spirit if not in physical proximity. Whether you go within yourself to pray, or go outside to connect with others on your street or block, you…..POWERFUL YOU…. will help begin the healing process and eradicate the fear. 

Take back control

Look for opportunities to connect, to help, and to listen to those who are closest to home right now. Take the time to reach out and get fresh air with your kids, your dog, and your neighbors. We all need both sanctuary of home and family as well as the stimulation of real human interaction (with a 6-foot radius, of course) and connection with nature. 

If each of us could shine some grace and space onto each other right now, that coronavirus map of the world could have a new title: The Golden Rule Virus and there would be toilet paper for ALL!

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