2020 has been a difficult and very unusual time in history. We’ve gone from our routines and freedom, sprinkled with a false sense of security, to a place of uncertainty, isolation and anxiety. Life can seem reminiscent of a horror movie as we now hear of and for some, experience financial strain, illness and even death.
It would be easy to focus on the depressing and negative things we are hearing daily regarding this Covid-19 Pandemic, especially for people who are dealing with the death or hospitalization of loved ones. We need hope and something positive that we can take away from this. Why? The lessons right now are all around us. Things that can transform us as people and make us and our lives better. Surprisingly, we don’t have to look to hard to find something positive that only could have happened under these circumstances.
Our world is becoming more united once more. People everywhere, in every class, race, religion and country are dealing with many of the same concerns and fears. Think back to September 11, 2001. America was devasted as the attacks against us ultimately resulted in over 3,000 deaths. Not only did we become stronger and more united as a nation during that time, but people from other countries offered assistance and support. We remembered what was important to us. Just as it was back then, so it is now, that people naturally reach out to others more during difficult times, much more so than during calm and happy times. They empathize and sympathize and want to help. We also can see and recognize real heroes; the healthcare workers, the mail carriers, the truck drivers, the grocery store employees and other essential business people. I and other people are no longer just asking them where an item is, but verbally thanking these people, who are putting their health at risk as they tirelessly serve us and keep us fed and taken care of.
Another important thing that I’ve noticed is that families are reconnecting. When you are caught in the hamster-wheel of life, it’s hard to look to the side, notice what’s around you or even get off. The Pandemic forced us to stop. We brought our families into our homes, closed the doors and reintroduced ourselves to each other. We have learned to re-focus on our family members, and also on the safety of others as we stay our distance. Families are once again the priority; not school, not work, not sports or extra-curricular activities. Parents and children are talking, playing games, cooking together and writing and facetiming other family members. Letters are being written, siblings are texting and skyping and grandparents are on the minds of grandchildren a little more than before.
We are learning other things as well. We used to laugh at and watch shows about preppers and hoarders. It’s true, they might be a little extreme, but many people were definitely wishing they had more than a few days of food and supplies in their pantries. We have learned that having at least a few weeks, if not few months’ worth, of food available is not a bad thing. Putting a few extra cans of food, bottles of water or an extra package of TP in the cart once in awhile might prove useful in the future. It may never be for another pandemic, but what about a time when you can’t work, a natural disaster, or just for a friend in need. Some people are also learning to cook for the first time and thinking about gardens. Self-sufficiency brings feelings of peace and security.
There is something else that seems to have made a resurgence-prayer. As is often the case when society becomes prosperous, we become complacent, lazy or just pat ourselves on the back and forget where our blessings really come from. Prayer is forgotten, church attendance declines and people can become a bit calloused and cold. Unfortunately, it can take a harsh wakeup call to remind us that we are dependent on God, and to remind us secondly, that other people are more important than things.
Jeffrey Holland recently said this;
“When we have conquered (Covid-19) and we will- may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger and freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught – not terrified they will be shot-and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice.”
I was walking around my backyard, escaping the confines of our house. I strolled the freshly mowed lawns, the recently trimmed fruit trees and came to my flower garden area. I saw a beautiful burst of yellow and orange from my once dormant daffodils. I felt a glimpse of hope, and appreciation as I looked at them and the yard I and my husband are stewards over. I felt God’s love and reassurance. It seems that in this world, sometimes happiness and hope are at times dormant, and that is when we can exercise faith and devotion, which awakens our commitment and love to God and to His other children.