Wow. Nowhere in my wildest dreams . . . okay, maybe my wildest, but not in my cognitive, normalish dreams . . . would I have ever imagined the whole world coming to a standstill thanks to a bat virus. I’m sure many of you can agree.
From school cancellations and family and friends losing their jobs, I can think of a million reasons why COVID-19 wrecked my world. Big reasons like the fact that we couldn’t go to church for two months, all the way to vain reasons like how I broke down and bought gray-away hairspray.
Yet, with all the bad and ugly, I can honestly say quarantine brought some good my way. And while I could list a million reasons of bad and ugly, and I can also list (at least) seven good.
1. I need to slow down.
Before the big stay-home order, I was running ninety to nothing in every direction imaginable. I was working for others and writing for myself with “work breaks” consisting of carting kids to and from school, sports practice and dance lessons. Add to that sandwiching Chick-fil-A drive-throughs in between those “breaks” and Wednesday night church, and my life was anything but a pleasure.
Now we’re promised that things will go back to “normal.” But I’m not sure I want them to . . .
Yes, my kids will resume their activities, and yes, I will support them. Also, as an extrovert, I look forward to get-togethers and parties. But I will think twice now before saying “yes” to anything and everything, overwhelming myself and my schedule in the process.
2. Time is so limited.
At first, sitting at home felt like an eternity. The first day of the quarantine, I cleaned the floors, washed clothes, read my Bible, played with my kids, wrote on a book, talked with an editor about another book, designed two magazines, cooked dinner and did pilates. And I still had time to spare!
But as the weeks went on, I realized how I needed to savor this time with my family. It felt like a my son’s first grade year went by in a blink (especially after letting school out early). COVID-19 coming out of nowhere fast showed me just how quickly things can change.
3. I need to be more thankful.
Quarantine made me thankful for what I often take for granted: my family, my ability to work from home and set my schedule, my church family, my health, my home.
Many others were not as fortunate as my family during this time, and my heart goes out to them. At the same time, it made me thank God for all the blessings I have in my life.
4. Teachers are underpaid.
My mom taught elementary school for 30-plus years, and my dad taught college courses before going into administration. Growing up, I heard firsthand how teachers are underpaid.
Now, a lot of my friends are teachers. And while they do get weeks off throughout the year, they can’t lobby for raises or work more like the rest of the workforce. Also, they willingly “quarantine” themselves with dozens of kids all day.
It took about half a day homeschooling a seven-year-old boy and four-year-old girl to solidify my notion that teaching wasn’t my calling.
5. I learned who matters most.
Grandparents, parents, close friends. All of us can think of the people we called and checked on during this time. Maybe we visited them from a distance or sent them funny texts. These are the people we missed. These are the people who matter most.
This time has really helped me see who I needed in my life. It also helped me see how I had allowed other people to waste my time, when I should’ve given more of my time to these people who matter most.
6. Community is everything.
Almost three years ago, my husband and I moved out of town into a house with four acres. We love it out here. It’s peaceful and I have a beautiful view from my back deck. But the neighbors put this place over the top.
While our neighbors are fewer and farther between than when we lived in a neighborhood, I feel closer to these people. In the country, there isn’t a mentality of people nodding heads and going on about their day. Everyone waves and stops to say “hi.” We also look out for one another.
On two occasions I needed something and my neighbors came through. The first was during the great toiletpapergate. A friend going to town asked if anyone else on our road needed anything. She returned with two packs of TP and wouldn’t take a dime from me. Later, when eggs were all the rage, a neighbor with chickens brought me a dozen. Again, for nothing. Awesome folks out here!
7. Life is what you make it.
Before anyone says, “Hey, you still have a job or you had savings,” hear me out. While I was very blessed during this pandemic, I have lost jobs and had struggles in my life. And those were during times when the president didn’t send out checks.
My point in saying “life is what you make it” is that we can learn to turn to God or we can cry and give up. Many times in my life, I have seen myself and others deal with trials. Our world is going through a trial right now. How we react to it will determine how we recover.