This is a hard time for all of us. We understand that. Aside from the concern about the spread of COVID-19, there is the loss of routines and, in many cases, income. People have good reason to be on edge.

There are also some bright spots if you’re willing to look.

One was on the front page of yesterday’s paper. Adianna Wasson’s surprise chalk art touched Tom Shafer enough he gave us a call about it. Adianna wasn’t looking for praise, but deserves it for an act that was designed to be a pure gift.

Others in the community have taken additional steps. The bear hunts around Iowa are giving children a chance to get out of their homes safely, riding with their families to spot stuffed bears in neighbors’ windows. As any parent of a young child can tell you, opportunities for entertainment and activity are precious these days.

One reader sent us a photo of some neighborhood teens who figured out a way to get together and practice the social distancing health officials encourage. They sat at least six feet from each other on the street curb, with a few on each side. It was close enough they could talk and enjoy each other’s company, but far enough to minimize the risk.

Others are using Facetime or other apps on phones and computers to keep in touch with friends. Those connections are always vital, and are seldom stronger than during one’s teenage years.

Do these bright spots overcome the fact that Iowa — and our nation — face a very real, very serious threat from a virus people didn’t even know existed a year ago? No. We must all still take steps to prevent further spread of the virus. Collective safety can only in this case be achieved by collective action.

But these moments also remind people that there is great value in being kind, no matter how dark some days may feel.

Each of us will have good days and bad as we endure what is, for most, an unprecedented situation. There will be moments when the weight feels crushing. There will be moments when we don’t feel it ourselves and are capable of lifting it for others.

We need to be there for one another. Call family members. Call friends. Chat online. Just reach out and make sure others know you care

Nothing but time can remove the uncertainty we all feel right now. Nothing but time can end the turmoil and the hardship. But the steps we take right now can help determine how much time it takes.

The word normal may be the wrong word to use here. This is the kind of upheaval that forever creates a “before” and an “after,” and the latter is rarely identical to the former. Life has changed.

But there will come a day when the work is done. There will come a time when we can once again be with each other without having to count how many are in a room or stay six feet apart. We will get there.

And acts of kindness will help us do so.

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