I’m going a very different direction with this post. In fact, I’m really not going to talk about travel at all. Because…well, Coronavirus. People just aren’t traveling right now, and we’re all stuck at home. I’ve kind of ignored my blog for the last several weeks because everyone else has. Travel just isn’t on anyone’s mind right now. And then I thought, “Why not write about the silver lining to the Coronavirus pandemic?”
I don’t want to be insensitive to those who are suffering right now. Many have lost loved ones or are battling the virus themselves. Many more have lost their jobs and are worried about how to make ends meet. To all of you, I extend my deepest condolences. Your fears and concerns are greater than mine. Everyone has been affected in one way or another.
What I am trying to do is point out that in any hardship we face, there ought to be something we can learn from it — some way to benefit in the long run. I believe this mortal life is designed for us to learn from the trials as well as the victories. As humans, that is how we always come out on top. So, with that in mind, here is my attempt to make some sense of all this and look for the silver lining to the Coronavirus pandemic. This list is specific to me and my circumstances, but I hope you will see applications to your situation as well.
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1. More time to schedule as I wish
The very first thing that happened with the Coronavirus lockdown (or #shelterathome prescription) was that literally everything was cancelled from my calendar. That included unessential dentist and doctor appointments, my volunteer work at the San Diego temple, church worship meetings, and all of my planned travel. Requests for my part-time work also came to a near screeching halt, including travel writing assignments and sign-making jobs. At first I was at a loss without my busy schedule that filled nearly every hour of the day with tasks. But how many times have I wished I could wipe that calendar clean and just do what I wanted? Now I had that opportunity.
Here’s what I’ve done:
- Baked more and cooked dinner meals from scratch
- Planted a garden in my backyard — something I haven’t done for several years because I was traveling too much to maintain one
- Hand-written letters to family and friends
- Walked an hour nearly every day
- Painted watercolor cards
- Started writing in a journal to record my thoughts and feelings — it has served to be very therapeutic for me
- Put together care packages with coloring pages and stickers for my grandchildren
- Sewn over 100 face masks for home health nurses and friends in our community
Even after all this, I’ve had more quality time every evening with my husband, time to listen to podcasts, and time to organize my office. I’ve had time to call my adult children more often…and have Google hangouts with my grandchildren. Many of the new things I am doing are very satisfying, and when things “go back to normal”, I don’t want to give them up. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to re-set my priorities.
2. So much kindness and generosity
I have been amazed at the kind acts I’ve witnessed and the generosity of those in my community. Facebook groups have been converted to Coronavirus resources, with members offering of their abundance: rolls of toilet paper, fresh produce from their fruit trees, rice and pasta, and even Chlorox wipes (I still can’t find any of those in stock in a store or at Amazon!). Neighbors have offered to pick up groceries and supplies for the elderly or have given generously to food drives for the local food bank. One day I called a few friends to check on them and see if they needed anything. The very same day, at least two neighbors called to check on me!
I do think it helps to serve others. Thinking of others focuses our thoughts on something other than fears or concern we might have for ourselves. Plus it just feels good to lighten someone else’s burden. One day, I took a plate of cookies to a fellow church member. I set it down on her front porch, knocked at the door, and then stepped back about 8 feet. When she came to the door, her face just lit up. Not so much for the cookies, but because someone had actually visited her at her home. Aren’t we all just a little bit lonely?
The greatest gifts
The night I learned my mother had been removed from life support was especially hard for me. A really good friend gave me the most valuable gift anyone could have given me at that time. While everyone else was keeping a six-foot distance, she gave me a HUG! I realize she was taking a risk, and that made it even more precious to me. Trials can really bring out the best in people.
I have to say I also appreciated all the free mini-concerts by celebrities and inspirational messages on social media. Even the humorous memes brought a smile to my face. People have stepped forward and offered assistance of all kinds without accepting payment. I personally have been the recipient of freshly baked bread, bags of just-picked oranges and grapefruit, banana bread, and a gift basket of home decor items. I love how going through this pandemic together has made us think of others with a desire to lift and encourage.
Click here to read about more ways you can stay in touch with friends and family.
3. Greater appreciation for my family
I have always counted my family as my greatest blessing, but perhaps not as much as I do now. Suddenly, with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, I became much more concerned for my family. I was calling parents to see what they might need. I checked on my daughters to find out how I might help as they added homeschooling to their responsibilities. And on Sundays, we began a family worship meeting via Google Hangout. That is now the highlight of my week — to have church with my own family and hear the messages and songs that all of the family contributes, even my precious grandchildren.
Losing a loved one
Because of the Coronavirus risk, I was unable to visit my mother in an assisted living home. But when she was removed from life support, that restriction was lifted. Now my sister and I could sit at my mother’s bedside for the last days of her life.
Perhaps you would argue that the pandemic made this situation worse than it had to be in the first place. But instead I choose to see the silver lining to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Being able to be with my mother was more precious now than ever. With everything on my calendar cancelled, I could spend this time with her without concern about other obligations. And because of the pandemic, my husband could accompany me and work remotely. I so appreciated his support. And when we made the eleven-hour drive to Utah to be with my mother, there was hardly any traffic on the freeways (something that will probably never happen again).
If you’re interested in ways to make your family ties stronger, see Fifteen Ways to Strengthen Your Family.
What’s most important?
I think there was something about the pandemic that made it more important for us to seek quality time with extended family. While we were in Utah, we made a point to visit members of my husband’s family, whether it was meeting with face masks on in someone’s backyard, or on their front porch at a safe distance. Family is everything, and the greatest silver lining to the Coronavirus pandemic is putting my family first again. I am praying for them more, connecting with them more, and I’m so grateful for them.
4. A chance to be creative
When you’re tired of living within the same walls day after day, you just have to find creative ways to change it up. Here are a few things my husband and I have done:
- Went for hikes before the trails were closed
- Taken a neighborhood walk every evening after dinner
- Bought takeout dinners every Friday and Saturday to support local businesses
- Streamed plays and musicals from the Hale Center Theater
- Baked cookies and delivered them to friends
- Gone somewhere every weekend to photograph a sunset
- Played games, solved crossword puzzles, and worked on yard projects together
- Watched my daughter’s dance company perform a digital concert
- Held Zoom game nights with friends and family
- Researched family history
- Held a family dance party for a granddaughter’s birthday
5. A healthier perspective
I’m really grateful that the Coronavirus pandemic has forced me to sit back and take a look at my life. Of course, I’ve experienced my share of fear, concern, and disappointment, too — I’m human after all. But I’m glad it’s made me think more of those around me and what I can do to help. I’ve gained a healthier perspective about what is truly important — and what is not.
I was sad we weren’t going to be able to take a planned cruise. But it’s just a cruise. We’ll travel again someday when it’s safe to do so. What really matters now is that my family is healthy, and we have what we need. We’re still able to worship and serve and make a difference for good. We have each other, and we are blessed with good friends, too. What else is important?
If I can find a silver lining to the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m sure you can, too. Be honest with yourself — if you look for something positive, you’ll already be ahead of the game. Don’t let the pandemic get the best of you!
I’d love your feedback on this topic — please comment below!
Thank you for this!! There is definitely a silver lining to the pandemic, and I hope even those who have experienced serious loss or financial hardships will feel the love and support of those who are more fortunate during this time. May God bless us!!
Thanks for sharing. I’ve definitely felt the blessing of pressing pause on some of the normal life stuff.
Great article Tami! Where did that excellent hamburger and fries come from?
The most awesome Gruyere burger ever was from Angelika’s Theater cafe.
Much about Covid19 has not changed my daily schedule because I work in an essential business & must still go into the office every day. But an unforeseen benefit of these times has been getting a little more time to work on a project with my client so that it is ready when things return to their new normal.
indeed a thoughtful post. I am sorry for the loss of someone who was so close, I know you will always have her presence around. This period has also given me the opportunity to think a bit more on myself and what I am giving into and what I am not. I hope when the lockdown is completed, there will become clarity into the lives that we have led till now
Oh I hope so too!
You are absolutely dot on. Every adversity leaves behind a lot to think about. Think fresh. No doubt this pandemic has changed our life now but perhaps also going to change the way we live our life from now on. What we thought was trivial no longer will be and make us better human beings. Love, care, importance of relationships, feeling for one another irrespective of nationalities are going to be the real gains. Thought provoking post which I loved as I too feel the same.
First of all thank you for coming up with a post like that which touches all chords which are interlinked into our day to day lives. Whether we are miles apart or just next door neighbour we are all in this together. Personally I went through the same set of emotions almost everyday , infact wrote a blog on my lockdown confessions as well which was jotted while I was struggling to cope up with my own insecurity. here is the link if you wish to read
I really wish that the world heals soon and we are back doing normal mistakes of life and growing with it.. A careful times ahead for sure.
Debjani, I enjoyed reading about your perspective as well. Good luck re-discovering yourself!
Firstly I am so sorry that you lost your mum but thankful that you got to spend precious last moments with her. I imagine writing about it in this blog was hard. I do agree with your views that while the world is in turmoil it is making us re-evaluate what is really important to us and that is time and family. Material items come and go but solid foundations remain forever.
I couldn’t say it any better, Angela!
I am very sorry for your loss but good for you to look on the bright side. I keep reading people bemoaning their losses so it was refreshing and heartening to read positives for once!
Thanks, Melinda. I think the good definitely outweighs the bad.
My family was also reflecting on the silver lining to the pandemic and reached very similar conclusions. We are spending more valuable, uninterrupted, time together and that’s priceless. Thank you for sharing!
There definitely is a silver lining to all of this. As someone who has lost her job due to this, I refuse to let the negatives outweigh the positives. I’ve gotten a chance to do projects around the house that I’ve been putting off for years, had zoom meetings with my family that I typically didn’t talk to as much, and just focus on myself. I am very sorry to hear about your mom though but glad you were able to spend those moments with her.
Thank you Lia. And I’m sorry you lost your job, but glad you are making the best of it.
Thank you for this and you are a beautiful soul inside and out. I am sorry for your loss during the COVID-19 times. Your love for your neighbours made me change my perspectives on my neighbours. I live in Europe as a minority East Asian girl and I had my fair share of “u Chinese spread COVID” stuff thrown from passers-by. I was so fed up with this, but your post taught me this is nothing as compared to your loss of your mother. I am a travel blogger too, so I hope you and your loved ones will go sailing as soon as possible!
Very sorry to hear that you lost your mom but you could get some time to spend with her in the last days. I agree though every pandemic is very scary but it teaches us many lessons to value our life and loved ones. Even being creative and trying out new things is the greatest thing which we can do this time. I too started painting again, cooking new delicacies and talking to our loved ones. Sometimes we learn beautiful lessons of life from ugly things.
Yes, I believe that there’s a silver lining to the pandemic. I learned to cook quite a number of new dishes. I was able to blog more and of course, the best part is more time with family. Now, we have a regular board game night.