March 27, 2020 Atlanta: GDOT electronic signs across the metro were displaying COVID-19 messages for motorists Monday morning, March 30, 2020, this one on NB I-85 near Central Avenue in Hapeville. For the third day in a row, the number of new coronavirus cases has slowed significantly in Georgia, even as deaths continue to climb. There are now at least 2,809 confirmed cases of the virus statewide, according to the latest data released Monday by the Georgia Department of Public Health. The latest figures are an increase of less than 5% from Sunday’s cases, much less than the average daily growth the state saw last week. Eighty-seven Georgians have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, up from 83 reported on Sunday. Less than one-third of those infected are hospitalized. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Lifting one another up during difficult times

Clearly, the coronavirus is testing everyone’s patience and resolve. Yet, amid the uncertainty, a resilient spirit thrives.

To provide a bit of a diversion from the news around us, we’ve asked our community contributors to share their personal stories of optimism during these troubling times.

Their stories will appear weekly. We hope you find them inspirational. We hope they provide you with some perspective. And we hope they remind you, as captured in some of their personal stories, that we are all in this together.

‘A different reality’

Another poignant reminder, via Beltline messaging, of the optimism that is, and must stay, at the forefront of our current reality – even while that reality continues to evolve.

I’m not the only one stopping to take this picture.

Maybe others had these same thoughts.

What is “this”?

Does it mean something different to different people?

When will “this” really pass?

Each week continues to be a different reality – and not at all what we expected during Week 1.

What will life look like when “this” has passed.

We know it won’t be the same, ever again.

How we will know “this” has really passed.

What will we see, beyond businesses reopening?

Most importantly, think about how we’re now going to appreciate all those routine things that previously (and in the spirit of complete honesty), we once complained about – that list of errands to run on Saturday morning; the salad bar that isn’t fully stocked; the drive to work; talking in-person with the co-worker that we once found annoying. Even finding a parking spot at the mall that seems too far out.

There are so many more – and my, how much we want them back in our lives!

As Garth Brooks said, “Let’s figure all of this out, so we can get back to the lives we [complained] about!”

He is so right about that.

And maybe we’ll stop with our complaining when (if?) we return to more “normal” life.

As the Beltline message reads: “This, too, shall pass.”

Without over-using the word gratitude, it’s hard to not think about all those previously routine normalcies we now miss, like getting a haircut. (Though I hear there’s a pretty significant underground haircut move going on).

This story was written by Cathy Lussiana, a community contributor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lussiana lives in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. She is a retired human resources professional who now enjoys traveling, spending time with her grandchildren, biking and writing.

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