During this reign of pandemic pandemonium, we are rightfully reminded daily (Hourly? Minute by minute? Until we can’t take it anymore?) that COVID-19 is contagious. It is important that, as things begin to open up, we do the simple things that will contribute to keeping us healthy: simple things like washing your hands, keeping your distance, avoiding crowds, covering your mouth when you cough, and in some instances, wearing a mask. After all, the disease is contagious. Be safe to avoid being sorry.

The longer this goes on, the harder I pray for an end to this entrapment. I can only imagine the hardships, losses and continuing worries of my neighbors who are unable to earn a living, pay the bills and provide for themselves and their families.

The pain and mental anguish of not knowing where the next meal is coming from or not knowing if your job is coming back or if you will be able to hang on until a new job is available can be an awful experience. When one is locked out of opportunity, it is easy to be locked into despair and isolation.

Don’t give up. Seek and you will find among your friends, neighbors and people you don’t even know those who are willing to help you. It may seem like you are alone, but you are not. Resources to meet your physical, mental and spiritual needs are closer than you think. Hang in there. Never forget, this too shall pass.

As a former teacher, I am aware of the pain students have faced by being separated from their teachers and classmates. Their world of discovery, learning, growing and understanding the world around them has ground almost to a halt. For the class of 2020, they have not only lost the above, but they have also been denied the hallmark events of youth that provide pleasant memories for a lifetime.

They can take one lesson away from this disaster and that is the difference between school and life. In school you get the lesson, then the test. In life you get the test, then the lesson. In the end, you can be sure they will all pass with flying colors.

Perhaps it is time to take a break from the horrors of this disease and consider other things that are contagious.

Here are a few things that are contagious that you might want to pass on to others: how about a smile? When you see another person smiling, it is easy to put a smile on your own face. Go one step further: laughter. Not only is laughter contagious, it is fun. Listening: when you listen to others, they are more likely to listen to you. Caution – listen only to those who make you laugh or smile. Caring: when you show people you care, even just a little bit, they will care for you. It’s contagious!

No matter your circumstance know:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ― Calvin Coolidge

Jim Hofmann,