Song 03 - Extraordinary People. Click to explore themes and stories relating to this song.

In extraordinary times, people can show up for each other in extraordinary ways.

Stories and Remembrances


The third theme to emerge from the stories we collected of 2020 reflects an essential, life-affirming human response in the face of unprecedentedly difficult circumstances … an impulse that is one of the building blocks of our species’ instinct for survival, and a bedrock of a functional society. And it is this:(click to continue reading)

The ability of humans to show up for each other — and for ourselves — in extraordinary ways, when the circumstances call for us to do so. 

Like the essential workers — the grocery store clerks, the people who harvest and process our food, the delivery drivers, the first responders — all of whom showed up to do jobs in public spaces, so that we could continue to get the supplies and help that we need to survive.

Like the frontline healthcare workers — who showed up every day, in often unprotected environments, to save lives; or to heal people recovering from injuries, to assist people having babies, to help people reliant on longterm care. 

Like the small kindnesses we offered to and received from one another — even, sometimes, people we didn’t know — because we sensed how stepping up our active displays of empathy might make someone’s day a little brighter, or a little easier, in the face of so much collective stress and difficulty.

And like how we showed up for ourselves — by seeking and finding respite in nature; by discovering the power of presence; by digging a little deeper, and learning how to root ourselves in what is real and true during such an uncertain time.

Our capacity for resilience is remarkable. And that’s not to suggest that we are all resilient and buoyant every day. I know I’m not.

We get bogged down,
we have stretches of days that feel swampy and endless,
we reach the bottom of our reserves …
… and, also … 
we are renewed by a walk among the trees,
we are lifted by the generosity of others,
we are motivated by our sacred responsibility to one another,
we wake up some mornings with a fresh ability to face whatever comes our way that day.

And isn’t that feature built into our very nature? We are made to move forward, to learn new skills, to grow, and to keep reaching for life. 

We did all of those things this past year, because we had to.
Because our survival depended upon it.
And we did it.
We showed up.

People: we are extraordinary. 

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In little and beautiful ways
Against the backdrop of a world that’s gone sideways
Some kindness can make us feel less like strangers
In putting it all on the line
Suiting up to save somebody’s life
Some goodness requires a step into danger
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People, we’ve been through the fire
And we know who’ll run in when the building is burning
People, we’re coming through the other side
We are holding on tight, we will keep the world turning
Look at us: we are extraordinary people
Look at us: we are extraordinary

With time itself falling apart
All the days stretching out into dark
We found out that the only thing real is this moment
The flowers, the birds, and the trees
Exist in perpetual uncertainty
And so do we; now we can say that we own it

People, we’ve been through the fire
And we know who’ll run in when the building is burning
People, we’re coming through the other side
We are holding on tight, we will keep the world turning
Look at us: we are extraordinary people
Look at us: we are extraordinary

And look at this little one here
Unaware of what there is to fear
Crawling, then walking, and reaching toward life

words and music by Shannon Curtis
published by Shannon K (ASCAP)
all rights reserved; lyrics reprinted by permission

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If you have a story to share about someone who showed up for you in 2020, or about how you showed up for yourself or others, please send it to Jamie at jamie@misfitstars.com.

  • kate b.
    My husband had a psych hold last December. It lasted a month and a half. One of the friends he had alienated, fought with and pushed away kept showing up for me. House repairs. Hauling my trash. Sitting with me to do puzzles night after night because he knew I needed a warm body around… Continue reading kate b.
  • kerri b.
    Second week of shutdown. No income. No idea when we’ll have income. Refrigerator stops working. One friend brought us her mini fridge and bags of ice for coolers. Another friend who was still working offered to pay for repairs or even a new one if needed. My husband watched hours of YouTube, tore it apart… Continue reading kerri b.
  • amy r.
    Maker Nexus, a non-profit community makerspace in the San Francisco Bay Area, had to close its doors following the county’s shelter-in-place orders last spring.  Upon learning about the shortage of personal protective equipment, staff and members quickly designed a useful face shield in cooperation with local doctors. They produced shields by using the makerspace equipment, gathering donated… Continue reading amy r.
  • katie f.
    My friend showed up at my house with an orchid plant when my childhood home burned down in the wildfire this last summer. She knew how much of a feeling of grief and loss I would be experiencing even before I had time to realize it. The scene was apocalyptic, over 1,000 homes in my… Continue reading katie f.
  • terri f.
    My sweet brother Tom … he has called me regularly (every few days) to see how I am doing and share information on the pandemic and the world.  We have the same viewpoint on many things and his rational, caring calls keep me grounded.  In a volatile time when so many people around me see… Continue reading terri f.
  • bridgette g.
    For me this past year hasn’t been that much different. I have a stage IV diagnosis, so everyday I worry or wonder am I going to get sick or die, and as far as financially I can’t work a real job so that didn’t change … for so many of us who are living with… Continue reading bridgette g.
  • lisa s.
    I showed up for myself, driving to Houston (3 hours away), to surprise my only sister for her 60th birthday. She wasn’t overjoyed to see me, but I’m glad I went. I needed to be there for her, since she lost her husband of 40 years in March. 2020 taught me even more clearly than… Continue reading lisa s.
  • landon r.
    My previous boss from two jobs ago, he and I were both laid off at the same time at the same meeting. We were the last two employees left and the CEO shut the building down. We went over to his son’s shop and he showed me around, then I was over at his place… Continue reading landon r.
  • lizzie m.
    My husband and son have supported me 150% in working and going through grad school … I am frequently absent from hanging out with them. It sometimes feels heart wrenching to me, but they root me on all the way … not to mention Silas (my husband) now does 95% of the cooking.
  • john d.
    I showed up for myself in a big way and left my job to work with special needs kids. I’ve never been happier.