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It's time for a different kind of viral | Off the Cuff

Series: Coronavirus | Story 63

Last updated 3/26/2020 at 9:38am

Part of the definition of “going viral” is “to spread quickly and widely.”

If there is ever a time to “go viral,” it is now. High time to spread encouragement, support and kindness. Also high time to put aside devisiveness that is so prevalent, stand united, work together, be better neighbors, use our creativity, and lead by example both with courage and faith.

On a recent Saturday late afternoon in the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, my 90-year-old mom called me at work to ask how my day went. (Please note that the following occurrences all took place before CDC guidelines to limit exposure were firmly in place).

It was her routine check-in to see how I was, how sales were that day, and who had come into the store. She still has somewhat of a vested interest in the operation of the store as we owned it for many years together. Checking in was also her “mom way” of making sure I was behaving myself.

The report I had given her the day before was a bit “under the weather,” as our downtown Edmonds community was no exception to the economic crunch everyone worldwide was just beginning to feel.

Needless to say, I surprised her when I exclaimed, “I had a charming day.”

“What?” she asked, perplexed. “Charming? How so?”

It started with our 85-year-old friend/customer who shops and visits us regularly. First thing that Saturday she purchased three blouses that we had discounted, and she was pure pink that she got a deal.

Over-the-top delighted was more like it. Later that day she called to thank me again for the deal. She thanked me?

Moments later, two younger women came into the store, raised their arms in the air, and stated, “We’re here to support downtown Edmonds and give you some biz.”

They had such fun helping each other shop. Wow!

Another frequent customer added to the charm that day by telling me that she had planned to take her husband for his birthday to an event at the ECA, but the event had been canceled so she was in to buy him a gift from our men’s department instead.

She shared a humorous moment she had found online regarding piano cleaning (we both play) and we had a good laugh. She texted me later and thanked me for the gift and laughs. Again, she thanked me?

Receiving a small bouquet of flowers that were originally to be used for another event also canceled due to the virus was the next delight. A heartfelt note offering encouragement accompanied the flowers and stated, “When you go out in public, please remember to spread love and kindness, not fear.”

It was signed “Your neighbor, friend & fellow human.” I was touched.

To top it all off, my phone dinged alerting me to an incoming text from one of my brothers saying he hoped I was well and was glad I was his sister.

Just how much more charming could any day be? Such an outpouring of support, encouragement and kindness at a time that could have us all in the grip of intense fear because things are so uncertain.

“Dugnad,” pronounced “doog-nod,” is a Norwegian word with a long tradition. It means working together voluntarily towards a common aim. Back in the old days in Norway, a barn might need to be raised after a storm, or in today’s world a kids’ football team might need a coach.

The common aim is something that just needs to get done, and working without pay is the key. This concept still exists in Norwegian communities because people simply need one another to accomplish projects, or in some extreme cases to survive. What a great concept!

These challenging days will be worth all they cost us if we learn from them and advance our thinking because of them.

Let’s focus on making positive changes personally during this time of uncertainty. Learn to rest more, be more creative, become better listeners, be more flexible,

invite stillness in, practice gratitude, etc.

In addition, let’s work together for the sake of others in order to all be victors!

For example, smile more as we pass one another on the street, reach out to shut-ins, family, and friends with an email or text, be encouraging with all our words and actions wherever we go, and practice dugnad (once the emergency has passed).

Get back to normal? I hope we will be even better and wiser after we have weathered this storm and learned to go viral with all the right things.

Off the Cuff is a monthly casual review of fashion styles, attitudes and trends by Jenny Murphy, owner of Sound Styles in Edmonds.


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