“How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to mind the events of the whole day and consider exactly what has been good and bad.
Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time.”Anne Frank, “The Diary of Anne Frank”
I’m just going to put it out there: whatever we might be going through, Anne had it worse.
She spent two years hiding from the Nazis, along with seven other people, in a secret annexe in a house in Amsterdam. Notice that I didn’t say government-encouraged social distancing. I said hiding. And not, incidentally, hiding from a virus that cannot think or feel, but from a well-organised, fully conscious group of Germans.
A group of Germans who, upon discovering her and her family in the annexe, sent her to the punishment block of Westerbork Transit Camp, then to Auschwitz, and finally to Bergen-Belsen – an overcrowded camp where she died of typhoid three months after arriving.
And all this for the simple crime of being born Jewish…
And yet, there she is… offering us, from beyond the limitations of time and space, a gentle philosophical hint to help us through our own struggles of having to stay indoors when that might not be what we would ideally like to be doing.
As Anne says, “Consider exactly what has been good and bad.” And let me add this: don’t let your mind trick you into accepting its first answer. Really do this. It might be tricky the first time. It might make you feel worse the first time – detox pangs. But persist.
Because if you do, you will find as I have that there is good in everything if you are only willing to look for it. It is always there. Always. It’s just that sometimes you have to adjust your eyes, especially if you’ve got really good at seeing bad things.
You might even say that what you pay to find good is nothing more than the willingness to look for it and to keep looking until you find it.