Remember three years ago, when the shutdown happened and we were hiding in our apartments, scared to go outside… Scared to breathe on each other. Scared to go to the grocery store. Scared we were going to run out of toilet paper. (smile). Remember all of that?
I sat down to watch Jeopardy! the other day, noticing that it was light out because of Daylight Savings Time. I looked at the cow bell and the pliers still sitting on the shelf by window … Remember how we opened our windows and banged pots and pans at 7:00 pm each night during the lockdown to show gratitude toward the health care workers? I used that cowbell and the pliers. Making noise with our neighbors made me feel less alone. I loved that we were coming together. I loved that we were showing our collective gratitude and defiance and hope.
I was in awe of the EMTs and the doctors and nurses who were working overtime with trauma all around them. Of the truckers and the grocery store stockers and the food delivery people. Of the bus drivers and the subway conductors and the sanitation workers who kept the City running. And of the neighbors and family who checked on each other and who checked on me.
They were – and still are – our heroes. They were heroes for caring more about the greater good than about their own personal circumstances. For doing what needed to be done. For doing what was right and good. Because we were in a collective emergency. Because we need to take care of each other.
When I was representing kids in foster care, I was struck by this same kind of generosity of spirit. In almost every family, there was someone who would come through when the parents couldn’t care for the kids. So many times there was an aunt or a grandmother or a cousin who would step up to the plate and say “I’ll take them.” They were often imperfect. But they stepped up.
I know we might want to forget those days. It was a painful time. It was painful for me. But we must not the forget the heroes in our lives. Who are the people who have stepped up in your life? Who are the people you’d bang pots and pans for? I’d love to know.
My friend, Michelle Hord, says “Hope is a weapon.” And sometimes, Hope is in a cowbell.