Our world and the world beyond us has suddenly changed. Questions abound unanswered. Scarier still, the answers are unknown. The most common question is, “When will things get back to the way they were?”

As Americans we are accustomed to freedom of movement. We just “hop on, hop off” wherever we want to, right? We’ve been dreaming about that trip and this may be the year. We don’t put much thought into going to visit family, we just go. On Sundays, we go to church. Not so much now. The question begs, “When will things get back to our normal?” We wonder, we worry, we pray.

I’ve re-learned something Mama taught me. In every situation there is always the need for kindness. As humans, caught in the battle with an enemy invisible and visible, more than ever we need to reassure one another. Let’s take a moment and show kindness to others in any way we can.

Uncertainty creeps in to all our minds when we hear someone say I don’t feel good, or God forbid, someone coughs or sneezes in public. This could evolve to the point of shunning one another, as I have noticed being done. I walked by someone on the beach the other day and they didn’t acknowledge me. I’m a people person. I like to speak to you and hear your story. The smallest act of kindness may be a smile, we can all do that much. The song goes,

Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through, for you

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you’ll just, smile

So, I’m not trying to oversimplify what we are experiencing and feeling. I watch the constantly streaming news updates and understand we are a country in crisis and need. Many of our fears are real and there are many who feel hopeless.

Recently, we lost our mother to cancer after a brutal battle. She was almost 92, and suffered, as many have. When the end became evident, we asked, “How long?” Doctors told us, “With a 90-year-old we just can’t say. They have lived through everything and it has made them stronger, they are survivors.” Hope kept mama alive all those years and final days. Her hope was in the good Lord above.

We will very likely become the survivors of an unprecedented event. For now, let’s carry on the best we can in the great spirit of kindness and love and hope. And, remember to smile.

Franklin County resident Pinki C. Jackel is a former Franklin County commissioner.