We are strong.

We have to be.

Because we are fighting an enemy that we can’t even see.

What we can see, however, is the strength in ourselves and those around us.

An elderly woman, with her husband in the passenger seat, pulled into the parking lot of a food business where their favorite special was being carry-out-sold. She said it was a perfect opportunity for them to have a meal she didn’t have to cook and a chance for a break in their now redundant stay-at-home lives. The problem was that she was feeble and afraid to be around too many people. So a young man, who just happened to be a patron at that same business and recognized her need, borrowed a pair of gloves from the business and carried her food to the car.

He was strong.

A man was buying items for his business at a store, which included toilet paper. An older woman approached him, asking him if that was the last of the toilet paper and how much it cost. He said the toilet paper had cost a certain amount of dollars – with clear stress and distress, she said she was a couple of dollars short even if the toilet paper still existed. So the man handed over his purchase, requiring no money from the woman. With a grateful heart, she thanked the stranger and they parted their ways.

He was strong.

A business owner is struggling to make money at her specialty shop, now only bringing in about $100 a day, she says. Yet, she still is patronizing her fellow local businesses, buying what she can. She says, “As long as I can make something, I’ll continue to support you so we are all still exist when this mess is over.”

She is strong.

A nurse continues to go to work, fulfilling her regular shifts at the hospital in her hometown . . . even though she knows there will come a day when the enemy will invade her hospital if it hasn’t already. She has kids at home, who need her. But she also has bills and mouths to feed and a lifelong longing to help those who need medical care.

She is strong.

A truck driver who delivers food product to restaurants is accustomed to a grueling route each day that spans several communities, involves numerous stops and lots of hauling, which normally starts in the middle of the night and doesn’t end until the middle of the afternoon. On Tuesday, he said his route ended at 6:45 a.m., because businesses aren’t open anymore or their need for volume no longer exists. His company is taking him down to two routes a week, routes with less hours. He’s making less and he’s worried about his job. But he still gets up, delivers in the dark and smiles at his customers in the same way he did a couple of weeks ago.

He is strong.

A grocery store worker says she’s never worked so hard in her life. There’s so much to do . . . . endless stocking, eternal sanitizing, constant explaining about the availability of products. Some people get cross with her, she says, because they are frustrated. Some people have tears in their eyes, she says, because they are scared. Every once in a while, someone thanks her for all her effort. And when every single person picks up a bag of groceries from her counter, she still smiles and tells them to have a nice day.

She is strong.

A teacher was planning spring field trips and hands-on learning and end-of-year activities with her students. They’ve all physically been together five days a week, every week, for months now and they are like family. Her students are like her kids. And now she is standing in an empty classroom, coming up with creative ways to stay connected with those kids, offer innovative new ways to teach their young minds and expand their horizons. She misses them, they miss her. But every morning, she connects with them via internet, and every night she stays up late creating new ways to enrich their lives.

She is strong.

A daycare owner says he will continue to be there for the parents and kids that rely on his business every day. It’s getting tougher, he says, as the number he can serve has dwindled to 10 and supporting his workers is a commitment he will fulfill as long as he can. “They are my people, you know?” he says about his clients and his employees, with worry in his eyes and tears that don’t quite reach the surface. Well, not yet anyway. “I’m just going to keep going.”

He is strong.

A business owner used to be so busy he couldn’t keep up with all the jobs he had and years of building up his own company was finally paying off. Now, because of new restrictions, he’s had to come up with new ways of doing business and be creative in how he utilizes his employees so he can continue to pay them. The revenue stream is a trickle yet the bills and payments still flood in. He has to make sure his business still exists when this war is over, so he’s had to reinvent the wheel so he can stay afloat and continue serving his amazing and loyal customers.

He is strong.

A high school senior doesn’t know if she will get to walk across the stage and get her diploma while her parents and family members watch from the audience. She doesn’t know if that beautiful prom dress is going to be worn or if it’s going to stay hanging in the closet only to become a relic of remembering that year when everything was cancelled. These were supposed to be the best couple of months in her life, full of memorable moments and rewards for hard work. But she says she’s just thankful her family, her friends, her community are OK right now. And she has hope, hope for the future – not just hers but everyone’s.

She is strong.

I can’t see the enemy, but I’ve seen these people. We all have. We can see strength in each other and inside ourselves.

We will get through this.

Because we are strong.

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