Lifting one another up during difficult times

John Ray, of Alpharetta, is an AJC community contributor. Contributed by Kyle Valencia
John Ray, of Alpharetta, is an AJC community contributor. Contributed by Kyle Valencia

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Editor's note: 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.

We can extend kindness

What survives a virus? I’d offer one suggestion: it’s our relationships, not just with family, but those in our community.

At home, maybe we can rekindle and recalibrate our relationships.

We can stoke encouragement and healthy caution but alleviate fear.

We can offer calm where panic might otherwise overwhelm.

We can also reach out to our community.

Reaching out could simply be a phone call to a neighbor with an encouraging word. We can also be mindful of those who were vulnerable before this crisis who are acutely suffering now.

In addition to the elderly, it’s also children and families who are homeless or financially vulnerable and rely on breakfasts and lunches at school. Maybe you can contribute to North Fulton Community Charities, which is on the front lines of this assistance.

Finally, we can be grateful – grateful for the things we are blessed with which we ordinarily take for granted. From that gratitude, we can extend kindness. Gratitude and kindness not just for first responders like our police officers who continue to serve, but for those who pick up our garbage, stock the shelves at our stores, deliver packages, prepare food and provide medical services. They continue to show up to work to serve.

Be grateful for them and thank them.

They are the true public servants.

John Ray lives in Alpharetta. He owns his own business consultancy, Ray Business Advisors, as well as North Fulton Business RadioX, a business podcast studio. He is also a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.