Covid-19. Pandemic. Social distancing. New terms in the new world we are living in.
I have been rather quiet on all this mess up until now, I guess, for a couple of reasons.
I work in a newsroom – and by the time I leave the office, I don’t want to talk about the Corona Virus anymore.
And as a writer, I have to step back and process things before I can write about them, and for the entire world, this “new way of life” has been a lot to process.
But as I sit here today, the same thought comes to my mind, that first came to my mind when I saw this virus erupt in China – maybe God wants us to slow down.
I look on social media, and at first feel unbelievably sad – seeing the stories of people losing their jobs, watching small businesses crumble, and hospitals overflowing with the sick. I cry for strangers who are losing loved ones even as I write this.
But in all hard times, I think it is also important to point out the good. For all the heartbreaking news I see, I also see people playing board games at home for entertainment. Families are cooking together and trying new recipes. Couples are taking walks and finally talking face to face. Children are helping each other with homework because mom and dad, in some cases, are trying to do their own work from home. Neighbors are leaving elderly folks dinner on their front porches. In a way, I feel like we have stepped back to the 1970s. Well, the 1970’s plus the I-pad and cell phone. Don’t get me wrong – not everyone is sitting around playing cards and reading a book. So many lay awake at night, worried about finding another job or being able to afford groceries – but my point is, if we want to win this fight, we must keep a positive attitude and have faith that God will help all of the people currently hurting and without work. It is our job to pray for them.
Think about this – before Covid-19, men, women, and children would fill every minute of every day with an activity, chore, goal, or assignment. Parents would rush from the office only to rush to the gym, hair appointment, corporate lunch, or the thousand other things that adults try to squeeze into a workday. Kids would rush from school only to rush to sports practices, chess club, or after-school birthday parties. There was always traffic, adding to existing levels of stress. There was always pressure to check things off our “to-do” list because we knew tomorrow would be just as busy as today. And the weekends were never really about relaxing because there was always more “stuff” to do.
In the instant gratification world we live in, humans have somehow been conditioned to believe we are not productive if we are not scheduling every free minute – from concerts to festivals to shopping, and so forth. But looking back, so much of our fun relied on other people creating it for us. Now in this Covid-19 world, we have to rely only on our immediate family in our home. Instead of having the world entertain us, we are now entertaining ourselves. The virus is forcing people to connect on a deeper level. It’s forcing people to talk again. This mess is forcing people to slow down. Covid-19 has cleared our schedules for us. It is, or at least should, be forcing most of America to stay put and accept that God is still in control.
I know some of you may be asking, but why would God do this? Well, God didn’t do this. Humans did this, but God allowed it to happen. But why my kids asked me? I’m going to write the same thing here that I told them – I guess none of us will know the answer until we get to heaven, but in the meantime, I do wholeheartedly believe, God allows tragedy to inspire growth.
Perhaps He allowed Covid-19 to allow us time. Time to slow down. Time to catch up. Time to breathe. And most importantly, time to spend with our family. I think He also allowed this outbreak to help His children gain perspective – to stop taking our health for granted, our bodies, our money, and our family because just like that, He can make it all disappear. So instead of complaining about school schedules getting messed up, spring breaks getting canceled, not being able to go to the store or out for coffee, maybe we should lean into gratitude. And realize the curse may also be the blessing. Yes, it is painful and terrible, but we must make the choice to see the good. Otherwise, we will suffocate in sadness. And the American spirit won’t let that happen on her watch.
And speaking of blessing, for those still out there – the medical staff, sanitation workers, farmers, cooks, grocery store clerks, journalists, and anyone else working to help mankind, you too are part of our blessing. And we thank you.