Living not far from this widely used park, I come here often. There's so much to see! Runners, bicyclists, walkers (me!), strollers, dog walkers, & people watchers. It's always crowded & so full of life it makes the time spent in exercise seem quite painless - pretty much. It definitely is a time I spend more often than not in critical thinking, reflection, & singing along with my favorite country music artists such as Tanya Tucker & George Strait.
My thinking generally goes to measuring / setting goals for the various roles I hold dear such as marketing faculty, administrator, Mom / family member, friend, as a volunteer, community citizen, & as a photographer. WHERE are adjustments needed, where am I falling short, & where do I go to get back on track? WHY am I falling short? WHAT am I proud of most over the last week? HOW have I demonstrated my love for others through helping with their growth, their happiness, well-being & their reaching a desired full potential? WHO holds me accountable & with whom can I have a candid discussion about the mistakes I may have made to avoid those same ones going forward, to discuss what has been learned & an action plan? You know, these are the thoughts that keep us all driven toward excellence in everything we do; yes, & passionate about purpose that burns like a fire within.
The events that have been unfolding recently as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic are especially heavy not just for those of us in the United States, but for all people universally. Each & every one of us have loved ones in the high(er) risk category making this a time of high alert & high anxiety. While this was an inevitable situation, it seems to have just fallen upon all of us changing our lives, most likely, forever; in many ways with major disruption along with it.
There's a long list of temporary closures to businesses / favorite places such as schools, restaurants, & churches. Very painful is the cancellation of all gatherings such as worship, sporting events, tournaments, K-12 competitions, rodeos, concerts & just so so so many more! Even March Madness!! Cancelled / postponed has added a huge ominous feeling cloud hanging over everything economically, professionally, & personally. The ripple effect is nothing short of huge. With every passing hours there are new reports of city / county / state / country quarantines. Stores empty from hoarding & sheer panic of shortage talk.
As I continued on my exercise routine, I began to hear Jesus calling to me, trying to get my attention. He said my thinking had gone everywhere except toward Him. I was looking inward, downward, & why not upward? He asked how could I walk through the beautiful nature that has been provided for me, all around me, even the rain & little duck on this very path! without being grateful, deeply thankful, no matter the global world swirling around?
Were the birds not singing? Were the trees not gloriously blooming? Flowers of all sorts with so many buds! Was I not safe, blessed, & in good health? Were we all not free just by His Grace alone & from the sacrifices by the many who have gone before us? What about the tremendous joy I receive from graduate students, the best & the brightest, called to be on life's journey with me? They are the most talented & the most gifted & used to speak to me, His words, that connects us together on life's journey forever. In my mini class this week, we had planned for all my students to go with me to attend a networking event & the Mavs game as they met the Denver Nuggets. The more & more we heard about avoiding crowds, the more nervous I became for myself about attending what would surely be a well-attended event, indeed. The Mavs were winning, so it was especially a cause for concern. I just couldn't get to peace about it, so I let the students know of my decision for them to go on without me. We were all hugely disappointed! BUT...what did they do? They sent me updates throughout the night, engaged in constant contact & fun, including lots of pics showing me just how good a time they were having, & so that I could share the next day on social media. I ❤️❤️ this kindness, thoughtfulness & sensitivity! There was another important benefit, I found, however. That benefit was after spending such an incredible evening together, they walked away being connected on a much deeper level than ever possible before-not only fellow students, genuinely friends & forever part of the DBU family. While I hated missing it, this all warmed & made my heart sing!
As my mindset began to change yesterday, something important happened. I noticed my thinking turned toward how I could help make a positive difference in my community, family, friends & among the students throughout these trying times. No longer was I in complaint mode, I was in opportunity mode, action planning mode & yes for sure, in gratitude mode for His many blessings that I surely don't deserve. I purposefully looked for how people were coming together to support local businesses such as restaurants & reaching out to them with how they inspired me to do the same. A restaurant in Sundance Square has turned to now offering delivery & donating a portion of the food receipts to the North Texas Food Bank as their upcoming event had been indefinitely postponed. Choosing takeout food instead of grocery store ingredients to reduce shortages & to support minimum wage earners. The 2 children in Ohio who gave their musical performance on a front porch for an elderly woman who couldn't get out, or enjoy it any other way.
Neighbors checking on neighbors of high risk to run errands, shop, etc., & just saying a friendly hello to reduce feelings of isolation. Businesses who can afford to continue to pay employees & doing so even if temporarily shut down. Many in our social media communities have included touch points for connection as we try to minimize physical contact with each other yet to offset the onset of loneliness.
To say God used my walk this moment during such trying worldly times, to help me put things in proper perspective, well, it's an understatement. I have recommitted to faithfully looking up, toward Him, especially in such trying times. And to reaching out to those in my network who I have not talked to in a while, offering any help, or just a conversation to connect. This is about opportunities for connection. And helping others to do the same. Relationships are key no matter what the future holds for all of us.
Call To Action:
1. What is changing for the good in your spheres of influence as a direct result of our global crisis?
2. How can you personally help others who are less fortunate during these scary moments?
3. Who should you connect with introductions within your network for their future success(es)?
4. Where is there room to extend your influence into new areas that have been on the back burner until now? Develop an action plan & take steps forward.
I love the stillness, the beauty in this image representing the peacefulness I felt by the end of my walk.
"Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone." "Human beings are almost constantly chasing a feeling of liberation. By definition, liberate means "to set (someone) free from a situation." Quotes from Senator John McCain.
Sir, your timing is perfect. May we come together to fight.