Opinion

Here's the thing: The story we're writing

I went to dinner with a friend last Thursday night and he asked me what story I was working on. I stared at him for a couple of minutes because I honestly wasn’t sure how to answer that.

The thing is I am never working on just one story. There are always 10 to 12 interviews I am setting up and attending every week to balance the 10 to 12 stories I produce per week. So when asked about one particular story, I didn’t really know what to say.

Friday morning three of my friends picked me up and we took off for Galena, IL for a friend vacation. We call ourselves the ‘core four,’ silly, I know, but we live up to our name. If one of us is going through something we are all going through something. Together we know that there are a group of core people that will be there for support no matter what.

We met in the second grade and even though we live in three different states and that was 18 years ago, we are the best of friends.

During our vacation I started thinking about that original question of what story I was working on and I realized the biggest story I’m working on is my own. Everyday I’m writing the story of my life and I am always, always trying to make my chapters as interesting as possible.

The Galena weekend trip will go down as the ‘time we took a vacation amid a global pandemic’ chapter. Slightly irresponsible, we’re aware, but it was planned way before we knew of the coronavirus and we all took copious amounts of hand sanitizer and hand soap with us.

We stayed inside a lot and caught up with each other and when one of our dads asked us to go to the store and bring home toilet paper, we all went to the store to bring home toilet paper. Whatever we do, we do it together.

That notion of togetherness got me thinking as we were all sitting and chatting about the virus. Saturday night I was scrolling social media before bed when I saw a post from a reporter who had a message of his own during the coronavirus outbreak.

He said that although staying home is best, he was a storyteller and he had to get out in the world. I relate fully as I try to force myself to work from home as much as I can, but I’m a people person. I like being in the office.

The reporter continued by saying this coronavirus essentially has us at war with ourselves. People are stock piling groceries, hygiene products and of course Lysol. And just like any other war, there is one thing we can all be that we tend to forget: compassionate.

Now that schools and libraries are closing and people are encouraged to work from home, there is more time to exercise that trait. Now is the time to share, to comfort, to help prepare and check on our neighbors.

We’re going to make it through this, that part I believe whole heartily, but we can make it through this tricky chapter just a little easier if we choose to help one another. At the end of the day, we’re all tasked with writing our own stories. Now is the time to ensure we are the heroes and not the villains.