The COVID-19 pandemic hit me like a freight train. Though feasible in the back of my mind, I am in disbelief at the number of empty shelves at the grocery store. I pray for my grandparents as well as all those with weakened immune systems as the death tolls rise. My son has no preschool and my work is cancelled, at least for a bit. Over the course of a few days my family’s life has changed drastically. It is the same story retold house to house, town to town, state to state, and country to country, with variations. Romeo and Juliet and Westside Story. Here are 19 positive things, or “bright sides” that this sad saga, COVID-19, has brought to me in its wake:
- A reminder to focus on what’s important. Shortly after the reality struck that this was not something solely half a world away, I sat in contemplative sadness in the backyard picking at moss on a concrete pad to alleviate my stress. My son came and sat with me, his warm and chubby body leaning against mine. In that moment my heartbeat slowed as I realized what was most important was right here with me, my ever present God, the love of my family, fresh air and sunlight, safety.
- A sense of community. I’ve seen people smiling as they keep to the 6 feet rule, strangers brought together by being forced to be apart.
- A forced vacation. Semi-quarantine? Maybe? I choose to take the glass half full view.
- A re-evaluation of my beliefs. I have been forced to look at who I trust. It is times like these I look at myself and ask if I can truly say as the apostle Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? For you alone hold the words of life.” The words of life.
- Selfless sacrifice. Last night I had the privilege of witnessing a new mama offer her breast to babes whose mamas couldn’t find formula during the grocery store shortage. She also posted ideas of where formula could be found. She said she would gladly serve as a wet nurse if it meant babies with full bellies. Wow!
- Creativity. Just like a forced vacation, we have to think outside the box. My friends rallied together and came up with ideas for things to do with the kids while they are home. Thinking of what to do when the diapers run out, no soap, or if worse comes to worse, no food? I am a strong proponent of trusting in the Lord, but also appreciate the fact he put a head on my shoulders. I’ve got back up ideas in place. Swim diapers with sanitary napkins, homemade cloth diapers, shampoo, body wash, or baking soda, foraging, fishing and hunting are my answers for the above questions. To paraphrase a famous saying from my Bible school, “Prep like there’s no Holy Spirit, then live like that’s all there is.”
- Joy of no control. Control and workaholism are more hype than anything else. There is a freedom in knowing you are not all powerful.
- A reminder to keep proper inventory. Our shelves would be a great deal fuller if we chose to keep supplies on hand (I can only speak from personal experience here.)
- A chance to practice conservation. I am starting to realize how readily I disposed of necessary items for the sake of convenience. This “firstworlding” has cost me dearly, not only in the pocketbook, but also in the chance to maintain a good habit I should have had rather than starting it out of necessity during a crisis. I’m now limiting my use of paper products much more than before, using food closest to going bad first, and increasing food I make to put some in the freezer. If I had started earlier, it would have cut out a ton of work during this crisis.
- A recognition of the beauty of time. Our life on this earth is limited. With the continual reminder that we have no idea of what tomorrow may hold, I have been cherishing my time with my family and friends so much more!
- A chance to work on long neglected projects. I have a long list of “someday I’ll get to it”s that I can think of no better time than starting on. So hello scrapbooks! Goodbye high dust bunnies! Goodbye lids I cannot find matching containers for. Hello novel in the works!
- A chance to become part of the ecosystem. It’s been forever since I’ve just been outside to be outside on a continual basis. I heard Nicole Apelian (from Alone) say when you do so every day the animals begin to consider you part of the ecosystem and are no longer frightened by your presence. I’m excited to give this a try and observe the results.
- A chance for more focused prayer and devotion. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Marci Ferrell’s Thankful Homemaker, this morning. She spoke of spending time with our savior every morning. This is something on my agenda that I am finding difficult but so necessary. During this time of pandemic, I have more than a chance. I have the opportunity and privilege to pray for my nation and world. I love Psalm 63:1-4 ESV which reads, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” In a dry and weary land where there is no water. This feels a bit like our country right now.
- A sense of nationalism. In crisis and immediately post crisis, I love the way the USA rallies around each other. COVID-19 is no exception.
- A chance to be bold. I don’t like calling someone out face to face. When someone was recently making food for the public, I saw them touch the underside of their nose with the back of their hand and not wash it after. I asked her to please wash her hands. I was nearly sweating as I said it, but I said it and am so glad I did.
- A chance to pick up on self education. Several new skills can be learned and with all this down time, why not pick up those that interest me.
- A chance for more outside time. With fresh air being a germ killer, and not wanting to remain indoors with a bunch of people, this spring is the perfect opportunity to visit those out of the way places that are on my bucket list.
- A reminder to practice proper hygiene, I think we all know the number one way to prevent disease is to wash our hands. It’s the how, the why, the how frequently that get pushed to the wayside when we get busy. It’s so good to have reminders. Back to basics. Like Vince Lombardi said at the beginning of the season coaching the Packers, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
- Rest. Our bodies all need it. Mine as much as anyone’s. Sometimes the downtime must be forced for me to get it through my head that I need it, but I do. I am so grateful for the opportunity no matter how it arrives.
Just a note, I am by no means trying to ignore or downplay the seriousness of COVID-19. I am merely trying to see the “bright sides”, being fully convinced that our Lord, Jesus Christ, will give us “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that we may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 ESV. (pronouns changed for personalization.)
Prayers for peace.