Hope Grows in a Dump

I’m not saying that the current circumstances we’re all in are a dump.

But I’m also not saying the current circumstances we’re all in are unlike a dump.

In case you don’t get the reference:

  1. You apparently don’t watch The Office, which I’m not going to shame you about, but I am going to strongly encourage to you watch it now. I’m sure you’re in full on Netflix mode anyways.
  2. It’s from a scene in which Michael and Dwight were…at a dump. Looking for leads the corporate office sent, that were thrown away. The two had been fighting throughout the episode, but towards the end, standing knee-deep in literal garbage, they both let it go and began to joke around. Then Michael says, in the very profound manner he relays all of his brilliantly creative ideas:

Michael: “Know what would be a great picture here? Just this whole dump, and in the middle, one flower. And that’s it.”
Dwight: “Wow.”
Michael: “And the caption would read…”
Dwight: “Hope…grows…”
Michael: “In a dump.”

It’s one of my favorite scenes from the entire show. Upon one of my 97 times re-watching the entire series, I wrote the line down as a future blog post title, and have been saving it for the right time.

Fam, I think now is that time.

The world is in panic, and we’re in the thick of this. I’ve never heard the word “unprecedented” used so frequently in such a short span of time. And I’m going to add to the word pile: This is unprecedented for us.

(Side note, idea for a drinking game: Every time you hear/see the word “unprecedented,” take a shot.)

I doubt there’s a single one of us whose life hasn’t been at least somewhat, if not completely, altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Another idea: Every time you hear/see “COVID-19,” drink a glass of water. What? I’m trying to look out for your liver.)

Small businesses have taken, and are still taking, a financial beating. Folks in the service industry are being laid off in massive waves and left with zero income. Bigger companies are forcing layoffs or furlough. Entrepreneurs and freelancers are answering daily calls of clients canceling services.

And those working in hospitals…I cannot even imagine. I heard that 30% confirmed cases in the US are medical professionals. I picture any hospital in the US right now looking like a hospital during WWII; chaos, a giant room with a ton of patients in beds wailing, doctors and nurses running from place to place just trying to keep everyone alive.

“Experts” have no idea when this will all truly end. When we’ll have a vaccine, a treatment, a handle on this. I’ve heard, “plan on this social distancing lasting at least another two months.” I’ve heard, “the financial impact of this won’t right-side until at least September.”

We don’t know when this is going to end. And we also can’t control it.

But the logical things that would help us cope better, you know, let it go, focus on what you can control, remember this is all temporary, all laughably easier said than done.

Well, I take that back. If you’re someone who is lucky enough to be a non-anxious person, you might have mastered these approaches long ago. I envy you.

To my fellow anxious-minded freak-outers, I hear you. I see you. We’re in this together.

And that’s the only way we get through — together.

Look at how incredible humanity is at coming together and being innovative and generous at a time like this. How can this not give you hope?

CEOs are forgoing salaries to be able to be able to continue paying employees.

The outcry to support local and purchase gift cards/do online ordering so that as many businesses as possible can still have money coming in.

Businesses pivoting their entire operations to better serve people right now.

Local fitness studios taking to teaching online classes.

People getting insanely creative with virtually connecting (virtual dance parties, virtual dinner parties, virtual talent shows, virtual tea parties — TEA PARTIES!)

Above all, I think the biggest hope comes from focusing on who each of us will be the other side of this.

We’ve had this taste of the fact that nothing in life is guaranteed, and hopefully after this, we’re all more fired up than ever to become the best versions of ourselves. To be kind, mindful, and courageous. To be more grateful humans who are thrilled just to be able to hug one another again.

Seriously. I cannot wait to hug you.

Here’s to focusing on the hope when we can, even if it is growing in a dump.