Words of encouragement help keep the country’s spirits up

Published 1:56 pm Monday, April 13, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I believe that love conquers all. The worldwide coronavirus is teaching us we are all one in body, but not yet in spirit. Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day. Don’t count the days — make the days count by throwing a kiss, sharing a smile with others, and waving a hand of greeting to them.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Drink a refreshing glass of lemonade and make a toast: “To our health, God willing. Never give up!” And remember, the best medicine is a dose of laughter.
As President Kennedy said, our most common link is that, “We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future, and we are all mortal.”
Abby, won’t you ask your readers to pause daily to reflect, think positively and affirm the conviction that we as a nation will overcome this challenge as we have so many others before? Be agents for globalizing hope. Do good for others. The greatest joy in life comes from giving.
Sending love and hope to all. — CARMELLA LaSPADA, FOUNDER, NO GREATER LOVE, INC.
DEAR CARMELLA: I could not agree more. Readers have been asking me how to cope with the changed reality of everyday life since the COVID-19 virus struck this country. Reaching out to help someone else is a potent remedy for anyone who is experiencing the blues and cabin fever. Even if you can’t be supportive in person, a phone call, a text, a post with an uplifting message or a joke can lighten the mood of someone who is feeling isolated. I am glad you wrote, Carmella, and I hope your message will resonate.
DEAR ABBY: I have encountered an “over-hugger.” I have always hugged, but I take care to respect how others feel about it. This person does not extend that courtesy. His typical hug involves picking the recipient up off the ground. It’s invasive, in my opinion. The last time I saw him, I offered my hand. Instead of taking it, he yanked me in and said, “We give hugs here!” I know he wants to show affection, but he puts his own needs before the needs of others.
I want to tell him not to hug me anymore. However, it’s complicated because we are part of a loose-knit athletic community.
First, is it odd of me not to want his hugs? Second, how do you recommend I send the message that a handshake is the most I want? — NO BEAR HUGS
DEAR NO BEAR HUGS: Pandemic notwithstanding, in general terms, I agree that what this person is doing is over the top. If he were to yank and lift someone who has back issues, he could harm the person.
My first thought would be to tell this man privately that you don’t want him lifting you. If you can’t take him aside and do that, then call him or write him a letter.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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