Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times


ordinary people

These past weeks I have been experiencing the surreal sense of playing the part of a character in a historical fiction novel or movie, accepting and even striving to embrace the role given to me – that of an ordinary person trying to navigate through extraordinary times with as much integrity as possible.   

Some dramatize my tiny, unsubstantial part in this terrifying story of a global pandemic. The word hero has been thrown around far too freely. While there are most definitely true heroes in this unfolding reality, nurses and first responders, not everyone called a hero in my mind, has earned that title. I most certainly have not.

My business, a childcare center, is considered essential, critical to caring for children so that parents with essential jobs can work. I am more exposed to COVID-19 than individuals sheltering in place, but that does not make me a hero. 

There has also been harsh critique and judgment from people who think I should not be open, despite being allowed to by executive order. While stopping short of being called a villain, that has been at times the implication. I have kept my center open and leave my home with permission. That does not make me a villain.

Few of us are heroes, and few of us are villains. Most of us are ordinary people with choices to make as to how we will respond to the extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves.  

Like other workers considered essential, I go to work each day and strive to take appropriate precautions. My center has new health and safety protocols, as well as new cleaning and disinfecting processes in place. These protocols and procedures are continuously evolving as more information becomes available, and guidance shifts and evolves.

Like other small businesses, I am struggling. The majority of families at my center are sheltering in place, and have suspended enrollment. Yet, I have not laid off, furloughed, or cut the hours of my staff. In time, funding from the Payroll Protection Act will more than help – it will offer a lifeline. Yet, until such time as that funding comes through, and with the hopeful expectation that indeed it will, financing to keep my staff employed has come from my own savings. 

I cannot put a stop to the suffering around me – the illness, the financial insecurity, the vulnerability, the loneliness, the fear. Like most of us, my part is not a central one to this unfolding global story. I am an ordinary person in extraordinary times doing what I can.

I am keeping a small number of people employed, caring for a small number of children, and sharing daily updates with hopeful messages and hopefully engaging activities for the majority families at my center who are sheltering in place. I try to bring a sense of calm and hope to my own family as best I can. It is not a lot, but it is what I have to give.

For those of you, like me, who are not true front line heroes, what is it that you can give as an ordinary person in extraordinary times? May the answers you find within yourself bring you strength and hope. 


  1. You Speak truth with eloquence

    We must all chip in to beat this foe as the world is shattered and emerges in a new state.

    May it happen soon

  2. Beautifully written. You’re absolutely right about the extraordinary times and our roles in them.

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