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It’s the second month of my first semester at university, and I hear that a friend from my hometown has passed. I call another high school friend. They answer from their dorm room in their second month of the first semester at university 50 miles down the road.

My college friends let me cry. We play quiet music, we go for a walk by the lake, and in the morning we go to class.

It is the first time I realize that your world alone can stop spinning while your classmates live a normal autumn day.

At Kennywood, the big amusement park in Pittsburgh, there’s a ride called the Raging Rapids. Before you can sink into the wet cushions of the motorized inner tubes that will splash you through waterfalls and “raging rapids,” you step onto a moving platform.

For the life of me, as I sit here reflecting, I don’t know why the platform moves. But you have to walk across this slow circling platform to get into your boat, which by the way, doesn’t spin.

While waiting in line, counting heads to see if you’ll make it on the next boat, you watch people catch their footing on the moving platform again and again. It’s like a ride before a ride.

And when the ride does end and you climb back onto the platform, shaking your arms as if you could shimmy out of the cool water, your feet catch that feeling of effortless movement. As you take calculated steps to the exit on this strange circular treadmill, you see the other park-goers, standing still and waiting in line on solid ground.

There have been many times in my life where I felt like my world stopped and the rest of the world danced on. There have been many times in my life where I’ve sat with a friend and the roles were reversed.

But I haven’t quite experienced this.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought our world to a pause and everyone can feel it. Whether your health, home, job, or livelihood is at risk, there are major implications in every corner of the world right now.

So we’re pausing. And it’s what we need to do right now. We need to stay at home, if we are able, to slow the spread of a deadly virus. We need to support those who are the frontlines of this fight. We need to take care of one another.

I work from home - something I recognize as an incredible privilege and blessing. I am able to workout, pursue solitary hobbies and projects, and find peace in the confines of my living space. The world paused and I paused with it.

There is comfort in that.

I remember when I first heard of “Earth Hour,” a worldwide movement to encourage residential homes and businesses to turn off the lights for one hour to symbolize our pledge to protect the environment.

I was fascinated. I fell in love with this idea of everyone doing the same thing at the same time for the good of all. The world would turn quiet and I with it.

There is comfort in that.

I’ve spent all of my adult life studying Happiness and Kindness through my work with The Smile Project and over the past few weeks especially, I have seen that amplified. I say amplified because I don’t think it’s a new thing. I think we’ve just become better at recognizing it.

We’ve seen people looking out for the elderly or isolated, neighbors singing together across balconies, and small businesses chipping in to support each other and our healthcare heroes.

There is comfort in that.

It is impossible to predict where we will go from here. As I write this post on April 1, 2020, I have no idea what tomorrow will become or one month or one year on. It’s hard to comprehend the passage of time as so many of us fall into unprecedented circumstances and routines and the social natures of our lives are interrupted.

But I went for a walk today. A solidary, social-distanced, solo walk. I heard the birds chirping. I felt the wind rustling. I tasted the sunshine glowing.

It may seem like the entire world is standing still, but I saw a daffodil today. Blooming.

And there is comfort in that.

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