Yesterday, we celebrated National Optimist Day. On the first Thursday of every February, this observance promotes bringing out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves. What a wonderful thing to do, especially amid the pandemic, to pause and look for positivity in our world.

The proverbial saying, “every cloud has a silver lining,” may challenge us these days to find something good as COVID-19 bears its sufferings. But, thankfully, this week’s news provides a ray of sunshine that helps peak our optimism. It turns out the rise in health and safety concerns has drawn many younger people to serve others.

Health care workers’ valiant efforts are inspiring many in the next generation to pursue careers in the medical and nursing fields. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has dubbed this phenomenon as the “Fauci effect.” It is named after the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci. AAMC reports applications for medical schools have spiked 18%. Locally, the increases are 14% at Stony Brook Medical, 25% at Hofstra/Northwell, and 27.4% at New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. These are optimistic numbers.

We are thankful that many young people are using the pandemic as a lens to see the value in caring for one another’s health and well-being. Let the “Fauci effect” encourage all into serving others. 

In ancient Greek, the word used to describe serving is “diakoneó.” This word is used in an optimistic setting in this Sunday’s Gospel message about healing. Jesus’ touch heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and she immediately responds with “diakoneó.” If you are impressed with the “Fauci effect,” imagine the response to the “Jesus effect!” Please join us this Sunday, February 7th, 9:15 AM (indoors) or 10:30 AM (outdoor drive-in) for our half-hour worship services. Be part of the optimism!