SAD AND HAPPY: This Pandemic Can Be Both

Finally the sun is starting to pop out. At this time of the year in the Midwest, the most beautiful and  fragrant flowers are out. There are lilies of the valley, hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, and the irises are about to pop.

Don’t the lilacs just make you happy? The thing about a lilac is it looks so beautiful and smells so good—but if you try to cut it and bring it inside, you realize how fragile it really is. That’s how many of us are feeling these days. We may look strong on the outside but inside, many are fearful, fragile.

I got a call this week that someone I love has tested positive for COVID-19. There is probably nothing that can stun you more than hearing those words during this time. At that moment I was like a lilac that had just been cut from the stem. A few minutes went by and I realized I had to center myself, light a candle and calm down. These may be trying times but we can’t let fear and sadness get ahold of our lives. There is so much to be thankful for and while we can’t control some things, we can control how we face them.

The old saying goes, “Out of the mouth of babes” and today’s message comes from 11-year old Jolie. She was watching The Ellen Show with her mother, Liz Oliver who was a contributor to my book “Choose Happy; Find Contentment In Any Situation.”

Ellen was featuring a teacher who wrote to all her students and it touched Liz to see it. Being the empathetic person she is, it touched her heart.

“It’s killing me that I can’t come up with a way to help,” she said aloud.

Truth be told, Liz has been helping people since the pandemic started. She’s a general manager at a hotel in Florida and when we left her hotel to drive back to St. Louis in March, she sent us out with a container of antiseptic wipes and a box of gloves.

The whole COVID-19 thing has completely changed Liz’s plans both professionally and personally but she is always committed to succeed in any situation.

This is not the first hardship Liz has faced—just as we have all gone through tough times. The only way we can survive this and whatever we are facing in our lives is to save ourselves, How do we do that? We choose happy.

She explains how in my book.

“If you are committed to your goal, you become determined, and will not waiver,” she said.

Though she has changed her plans—as we all are doing to accept the new challenges we are facing— that’s not wavering. It’s not giving up. We are adapting yet pushing ahead.

“When you think of what is really important in life,” she says. “It all boils down to W.E.A.L.T.H.

Some people think being wealthy and having a lot of money will make them happy, but her version of “wealth” is very different from many.

Liz Oliver’s Definition of Wealth

W hen

E verything

A round

L eads

T o

H appiness

“It’s that simple,” she said. “When your career, love, finances, friendships, health, and family, lead to your happiness and the happiness of your family, that is true wealth.”

When we help others, it doesn’t only help one person. People are watching us. Evidently Jolie was watching as she helped each individual staying at her hotel. She even helped one guest, who seemed sad to be stuck far from home. She helped him get a plane ticket and called him an Uber when his plans of staying several months were interrupted by the virus.

Even though Liz looked strong and in control– like the iris on the bush– just like the rest of us, she has private times of fear.

As Jolie sat on the bed watching TV, she turned to her mother and said,  “Mommy, maybe God is sending us a message.

“Look at how kind people are being. Look at all the goodness that is happening. Look at people being helpful to one another.”

The pandemic has caused a huge havoc on Liz’s family because the hotel she runs relies on tourists coming down to enjoy the beaches. As with everyone who is living through this time, things can become stressful, but Jolie continued her optimistic view:

“Maybe the beach needed a break from us polluting it and maybe people were moving away from God and forgetting Him,” she said. “Mommy this is sad and happy at the same time.”

Thanks for that wisdom, Jolie. There’s not much more for me to add.

Bible Verse

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  —  Jeremiah 17:7-8


 “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”   –Willie Nelson

Action Plan

Now that you have all this extra time, try to figure out what you are supposed to do with it in order to grow.  Are you aiming your career, love, finances, friendships, health, and family, towards happiness? Look at each word and ask yourself if you are happy in this area. There are some we are unable to work on during the quarantine but many you can. Let’s start with health. Are you doing all you can to stay healthy and come out of this better than you started? If not make your own action plan.

Growing up as a child my mother said “drink orange juice every morning” and she served it to us. The last few years orange juice hasn’t fit into my eating plan, but ever since being confined to home I’ve started drinking orange juice. I make sure to include spinach in my salads and take my vitamins and Juice Plus. My ways aren’t yours, but you know what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.

Now how about your family. Are there members of your family you have lost closeness with? Are you mad at anyone? Now is the perfect time to mend your fences and patch up any problems with family members. Young people, check up on your parents– every day or at least every other day.  Older people, stay current on what your kids are doing and show your support and love. There are all sorts of technological ways for us to show our families our love and to stay connected.

Jolie said, “Look at all the goodness that is happening. Look at people being helpful to one another.” Do you see yourself in that observation? Are you stepping up and doing what you can to help others? Do you know someone with COVID-19? Keep up with them and let them know you care. You don’t have to keep saying “how are you doing?” You can merely call to talk about other things.

There’s a lot of action we can take to help keep our life happy and provide more happiness for others.

One Last Thought

The great World War II General, George S. Patton said, “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”

When I talk about doing good for others or making others happy you don’t have to do amazing things or be famous or rich. Each one of us can spread a tiny light and if we all spread our light the world is a better place.

Many who know me know I love candles. I light one every day and pray for my family and friends. I have been very honored to have been asked by friends to pray for their loved ones. If you have ever asked me to pray for your loved one you can be sure I have prayed for them. I see people on Facebook asking for prayers and people write “praying” or “prayers coming your way.” I only hope that if you say you will pray for someone you will stop what you are doing and pray for them– and if someone asks you to pray for them, consider it an honor.

That’s a very small thing that we can all do– we can all pray for each other.  So while there are so-called heroes out there, we can be each other’s hero every day. All you have to do is keep trying and keep encouraging others to try. As Patton said,  it doesn’t matter how high we fly (HAPPY) it’s how we react when we hit the bottom (SAD).

We can definitely see sad in this situation, but the big challenge is to see happy.

I Choose Happy.


Written by Sally Tippett Rains.  Published by Peppertree Publishing, Sarasota, Florida, Distributed by BookBaby.


Choose Happy Cover

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Choose Happy Cover

A portion of the proceeds will go to Rainbows for Kids.