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I would guess that most people that set out to write an article have some general idea of a point that they’ll try to make or an observation they’d like to share with the reader.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent considerable time trying to figure out what I was going to write about. As I sit writing this, I don’t know that I’ve gotten any closer to a point that I want to make or an observation that I feel is important to mention.

I don’t think I’m the only one still trying to process the world around me and all the crises that we are dealing with. I can confidently say that any illusion that I may have had that I had any control of the world around me or idea of what was going to happen in the future has been washed away over the last year.

The stress of COVID cases spiking locally and around the world, coupled with the lead up to the recent election and its aftermath have pushed so many of my friends and neighbors to what seems to be their breaking point. People in our community feel more alone than ever. Business owners and employees are worried about the future. Tensions are high and there’s no calm in sight. What can I do? What can you do? What can we as a community do?

There’s not a manual to follow that tells you how to heal dangerous political divides that exist between us and our friends, families and neighbors. To the best of my knowledge, there is no individual alive today that has lived through the situation and challenges that we are going through right now, so we don’t have the wisdom of our elders to pull from. Unfortunately for us all, I don’t think I’ve got a solution, either.

There’s a lot that we can do in the meantime, and there’s no reason that we feel we must do it all ourselves. Even though I’m stressed to the max, I’d be happy to lend a hand if I know you need help. I’d be willing to wager you’d feel the same way and would be willing to lend a neighbor a few minutes of your time to lessen their burden if you knew it would truly help.

Mr. Rogers said that in times of crisis that we should “look for the helpers.” A lot of us are looking for the helpers right now, and I think we’re starting to realize that we, ourselves, might be the helpers that we keep looking for. It’s scary, but we can help each other through this, and we might just find that we’ve fixed a lot of these issues along the way. If nothing else, it’ll give us something to do while we wait.

Be kind to each other and don’t worry, I promise that I’ll stick to talking about movies in the future.

Justin Stroup is executive director of the WYO Film Festival. 

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