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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

On My Mind: Reaching Out, Thankfully

Every night at supper, we say a little prayer. And the longer these virus days go on, the longer the list of things our little family can be grateful for.

We’ve got food in the pantry and a little money in the bank. We’ve got jobs where we can work from home. We’ve got a warm, safe place to sleep. We’re healthy and strong.

In some odd ways, the virus has made our lives better. We’ve met new neighbors and cooked more of our own meals. We’ve gathered at night to call relatives or watch a movie or read until bedtime. It’s more like the life we always wanted to lead, instead of like our normal life, where we never feel caught up.

We need breaks like this more often, one of our cousins said on a Zoom call the other night. I knew exactly what he meant.

But that night, when I tried to sleep, I thought about the people who are already at the breaking point.

Of course there are all those grieving for the ones they’ve lost to the virus, or the ones sick in hospitals where no one can come visit. But there are also the breadwinners who just lost their jobs, the single parents trying to feed their families, the kids who miss school because it was the most stable part of the day, the old folks in nursing homes, lonely and alone.

For them, there’s nothing charming or pastoral about all this. It’s a daily strain in lives that don’t need any more.

Those of us who are doing OK ought to share our blessings. There are a thousand ways you can give your money or talents or time, and a thousand places where it’s needed. Don’t worry about the perfect one. Just pick something.

Many of us have gotten, or will be getting, stimulus checks. Some of us are fortunate enough not to need the money. Maybe start there – find someone or someplace that needs it more. Consider it re-gifting.

We’re a long way from being done with all this. In some ways, the hard part is just beginning. If the hard part is not that hard for you, be thankful. And after that, be helpful.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column normally runs every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

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Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.