By Jasmine Willis
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I find that in times of great tragedy or hardship there is an overpowering surge in humanity. Once the chaos is over and people can take time to breathe. They think about what they can do for their family, friends, and neighbors.
Right now, many of us are on edge, and we are having a hard time seeing that light at the end of the darkness. We have lost our jobs, schools, routines, and places of worship to this virus. As humans we are creatures of habit. We all have our routines. We do our one thing every single day. Whether that is work, housework, childcare, socializing, or just caring for others.
When everything went into panic shut down mode it made us all forget who we are for a second. We all went running to the stores thinking we had to store up for the Apocalypse.
We felt an intense greed of what we needed for ourselves. We forgot to care for our neighbors.
After a moment there was a quiet in the storm, and we figured out the elderly and children were the most in need. They needed our unconditional compassion and love in this hard time. They need us to reach out and make sure the light shines in their homes. They need groceries, supplies, and a kind word.
Once we all started to come together as human beings again, we noticed a change in the communities. We saw this same change happen in all the other times of tragedy. The schools realized the low-income families needed to have meals; since many of them rely on their children getting two meals a day. The stores began to decide seniors get time to shop when the chaos is dying down. All of the outreach programs are trying to connect online with as many people as they can, so these people know they are not alone. The social services are trying to help everyone who lost their work. Many small businesses are trying to reinvent the wheel in order to survive.
This is what we do as human beings in order to survive when darkness tries to take over. WE all grab a flashlight, and we shine that light into as many corners as we can.
Yes, it is a hard blow to all of us right now. I am a creature of routine as well. Your friendly community reporter likes to have a system. I like to go out into the world and talk to my humans. It makes me feel better to have a friendly conversation with you.
For five years now I have made this place my home. I have come to know you all as my humans. You all have told me your hopes, dreams, and stories. I know that as long as we have those we are going to make it through this nightmare.
I know right now it feels like the darkness has won. It feels like we are all losing everything that matters to us. Yet, we all must focus on what we still have. We have our lives, our family, our friends, and each other in this mess. We can help each other as long as we believe in the light.
Time and time again I have seen the light in all the towns and villages I have had the pleasure to report in over the years. I know the light lives in every corner of these places. I know we can all work together to make it shine brighter.
When I would walk into Dogwood Trading Company to have updates and a friendly talk with Sue DeMuth. When I would stop into Sugar Bowl to see all of my girls who I feel like I watched grow up. When I would go into Coffee Cup for a sandwich and cup of soup and talk to my girls there. When I would go into MacFadden’s Coffee Co. for my new favorite thing of Bubble Tea and talk to my friends Denise and George Guida. When I would see my friend Jenni Leuzzi talk to me about what is going on for First Fridays. When I would see my friend Salome Farraro as I would grab a sub or piece of pizza at Tony’s Pizzeria. When I would see my friends at the Dansville ArtWorks to get caught up on what is going on at my favorite art center. When I would bump into my girl Kaylee Lohrmann Walker who would have me take photos of the latest adorable doggies. When I would bump into Dr. Paul Alioto who would give me updates on what is going on at the school. This is my town.
It doesn’t end there. I expanded. I have my humans in Wayland, Cohocton, Springwater, Nunda, Sparta, West Sparta, Mount Morris, Geneseo, Lima, Avon, Livonia, Webster-Crossing, North Cohocton, and Atlanta. You are all my humans and I love you. I am here to share our stories. The stories of our triumphs, our losses, our survival, our hardships, and most of all the light we shine. It was hard trying to do it all at once. Being one person trying to change the world through the newspaper was not easy. I did it for five years, because I knew that you all needed me. You all needed someone who cared and shined the light. I feel like through all our conversations and storytelling we have done just that. I am blessed to know you all. Please be safe in these times. Remember if you needed to be reminded of how important you are just go find a story I wrote. I have written all of your stories over the years.
In the battle between Coronavirus and Humanity. I already know how it ends. I bet on us every single time.