How does one call a pandemic a blessing? How does one look a death count that seems incomprehensible and see a blessing? How does one watch people struggling to survive as they no longer live paycheck to paycheck and see a blessing? One looks for it.
Yes, one looks for it because in our world’s current crisis it is impossible to find a blessing in the midst of this tragedy, pain, and sorrow without being intentional about finding it. During week one of this crisis in the United States (or whatever we are, because I think we are far from united), I was hopeful we would see a quick snuffing out of the cases in a relatively short period of time. Now we are in week eight and the news is heartbreaking. While I only know a few people whose lives have been greatly impacted by this crisis, a few is more than enough. I pray for the health and safety of my family and friends regularly. I fuss a bit with those who I love the most who are a bit too casual with social distancing and masking up for my comfort. I want my family and friends to live, and in some ways I want them all to remain in quarantine until a vaccine is developed. I know that is an unlikely desire, but it is my truth.
While I mourn the life I no longer have—outdoor concerts, in-person dinner parties with friends, cheering at my nephew’s sporting events from the sidelines, visiting my parents for the weekend—I have come to see so many blessings in this pandemic.
- Life slowed down. My life has come to a screeching halt and my eyes have been opened to how busy my pre-pandemic life was. I had become so accustomed to juggling work, school, life, and church that being slightly tired on most days was my norm. I have learned to produce high quality work under pressure and pull through at the last minute. I was so conditioned to this life that it was not problematic for me. Now, eight weeks into this crisis, my body feels well rested. I think about what my weekly meals will look like. I have watched television shows not for entertainment purposes, rather I have sought to broaden my horizons by watching “boring” channels like PBS. I have read books. Life slowed down and I feel far more enriched.
- Family became more connected. I know we think Zoom is going to be the end of us, but this pandemic has caused my family to become so much more connected. Nearly every weekend I have had a Zoom call with a group of family members. We’ve had a wine party, a tea party, a birthday party, and Bingo night. I also went to a dinner party with friends whom I consider family. If this pandemic had not come up, I would not be so connected with my family. I would’ve seen most of them at Christmas and maybe at a summer gathering. Other than that, I would have gone on with my life without giving touching base with family much thought. This pandemic has challenged me to pause and question why our family never used Zoom to connect with one another before. I wonder how often my cousins in New Mexico, Florida, and North Carolina feel disconnected from us when we hardly ever reach out and never virtually include them in family gatherings. In the future, we can do so much better to remain connected as a family even if distance keeps us apart.
- Self-care and self-work began to matter. Over the last eight weeks, I have had a lot of time with me. Whew . . . it’s truly been something. I generally think I have my stuff together (cuz who doesn’t internally think highly of themselves), but there are some things I have needed to slow down and work on. I have learned and been reminded of some things about me. First and foremost, I lack motivation in some key areas of my life. Second, I have poor follow-through (my talk and walk are not necessarily on the same page). I need to work on these things. Selah. Despite my shortcomings, I have begun to do some work on self during this crisis. I needed to declutter my house to help declutter my mind—I cleaned out my storage room and began giving things away. I needed to rethink my personal and professional goals—I found a journal template to follow because I really have to take things one day at a time. I needed to spend some time thinking about if the life I am living aligns with where I want to be—I decided to stop being afraid of my own shadow and do some of the things I’ve been talking about (like writing a children’s book…yay!!!).
COVID-19 sucks, there’s absolutely no denying that truth, but there are still glimmers of hope and blessings in the midst of a pandemic! Stay strong, stay hopeful, stay blessed.