Be Nice. Be You.
Written By: Troy Tait
I recently faced an all too familiar question. It was a cool spring morning, and in Utah, that can mean 30 degrees or 50 degrees. With my dog at my side – waiting anxiously to go out for a walk – I stood in my room looking out the window, wondering which of those days it was going to be. The sun was just coming up, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I skeptically looked at my weather app, trying to determine if it was more accurate than what my own eyes were seeing. With the encouragement of my dog, I determined it was going to be the nice warm spring morning and dressed based on that assessment.
As I walked out the door, I could feel the warmth of the sun and felt really good about my decision, but my feelings were about to change. About 10 minutes into my walk, the light breeze suddenly changed, and my warm spring day was now a cold spring day. My walk turned into a run so I could start to warm up. As I continued on my walk/run, I was becoming angry about my circumstances and was cursing the weather with each gust of wind. About a mile in, I noticed something up ahead on the side of the trail. It was a couple of rocks that someone had painted and strategically placed along the side of the path so people would see the message on the rock that read, “Be nice. Be you.”
Well, needless to say, I read the message and immediately started to feel bad about my negative attitude. I had passed several people along the way who were nice and saying hello as we passed. I was so focused on the cold and questioning why I didn't dress warmer that I missed out on some great opportunities to reap the benefits from my walk. I wasn't rude to people; I just wasn't very engaged. Instead of saying hello, I would simply raise my hand and give a little wave – sometimes not even making eye contact. Seeing the painted rock made me stop and think a little about my current situation. Even with the cold air, it was an awesome spring morning. The sun was still shining, the trail was clear and dry, and the air was fresh and clean. My dog was happy, and so was everyone else who was out on the trail. I would like to say that the rock gave me the motivation to go 10 miles, but it wasn't that motivational : ) It did, however, make the remaining two miles much more enjoyable.
In life, there are always going to be challenges and obstacles. Things that happen and cause us to get out of our daily routines. Sometimes the challenges are big and take a significant amount of time. Other times, they are small and resolved quickly. The one thing that remains the same – in every situation – is the way we choose to react. At the time of writing this article, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has created a situation that many of us have never experienced. There is a lot of fear and confusion about the virus, and much of that comes from the unknown. Many have been personally impacted physically, emotionally, and financially. Lives are forever changed. There are many who are living in great fear – and rightfully so. There are also those who are on the opposite side. Perhaps they haven't experienced the impact that others have felt. They seem to be living as though nothing has changed.
I have personally witnessed examples of both sides. Those who have experienced real pain and suffering from the direct impact of the virus. Others, who have not been impacted at all, continue to live as normally as possible. What has been the most impressive are those who have been hit the hardest yet continue to be the most optimistic. I have not had anyone close become sick but several members of my own family have been impacted by the financial issues created by the "stay at home" mandates. One of the things that has helped me through this pandemic is the fact that we live in the greatest country on earth. We have the smartest people who are giving everything they have to treat those affected by the virus. Those front-line health care workers are amazing, as are those who are working to find a vaccine. We have the brightest minds working to eliminate the risk, and that is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, sometimes that message gets lost in the doom and gloom and the reality that lives have been lost. But just as we have many times in the past, we will get through this challenge and be ready for the next one.
The important thing to remember is we are all in this together. Sometimes, we do get a little down, and the doom and gloom can be a little overwhelming, but if we stop and look around, we quickly realize that despite the challenges, there is hope, and that is enough to keep us moving forward.Next Article