One week has passed since the turning point. Schools have been shuttered, malls and restaurants locked up except for food take-out, social distancing the common practice. A trip to the bank was needed, so I wore gloves when touching the cylinder that magically gets sucked into nowhere at the drive-through. An ordinary errand … but not ordinary at all. Folks understand and expect this strange new way of interacting, except perhaps the spring breakers still crowding the beaches of Florida.
A new reality is setting in. One elderly neighbor has pneumonia, and her mystery care giver slips into the driveway each day wearing a protective mask. News reports remind us nonstop of the threat of the COVID 19 pandemic. Each day is different from the one before. Self-quarantined folks rely on texts and phone calls to stay connected. Church leaders send devotional messages that provide hope and comfort.
Looking for opportunities in the uncertainty, I’m compiling a bank of encouraging changes, ways of doing things differently that may improve our way of life. Here are a few observations;
- The planet is healthier they say, already! Fewer cars are on the roads, lower level of emissions, cleaner air….it sounds like a pretty picture.
- A mother of teens reports the atmosphere in her home is calmer than before without all the deadlines and places kids have to be. Dinnertime has become a leisurely family event. She wonders about the myriad of activities we build into our children’s lives.
- A friend decided to clean her windows on a recent sunny day while sequestered in her house, bringing more brightness inside. On my list too!
- Another friend is removing 5 layers of paint from a porch rail—a job she has been putting off.
- On my daily solitary walks I see families in backyards playing ball together and kids walking with their parents.
- My grandson cooked an entire dinner for his family and his sister has taken up pie baking.
- Gardens are being prepared for summer — with happy thoughts of a more carefree time. My indoor collection of sixteen cherry tomato plants and one lush basil pot is thriving at the window. Black-eyed Susan vines are next!
- A friend is making coffee tables in his barn workshop, in case the outdoor farm market, his livelihood, is not able to open for business.
- A Facebook acquaintance posts “I’m cooking real meals! Never realized how much fun that could be.”
- My neighbor worries that she’s gaining weight. “All I do is cook…eggplant parmesan, meatballs, … and then I eat.”
- A young mother is planning family movie nights, a time for putting down individual devices and sharing a screen together, along with popcorn.
- Another young mother who normally falls back on fast food restaurants on busy days discovered she could create several meals from one chicken. Her entrees sound delicious: roasted chicken with veggies and taco salad with shredded chicken.
- A teacher / coach who’s designing and delivering instruction at home wonders how the face of education will look in the future. He finds joy in his hobby—running in the great outdoors.
These seem like healthy, happy pursuits. Perhaps our busy schedules have failed us and it’s time to rediscover the joys of simply being in our homes and gardens.
While practicing vigilance to safeguard families and communities, let’s see the opportunities for positive change, little bright spots that warm our hearts and promise a better future. This is my prayer for you, your loved ones, and all those I hold close.
Feel free to share the bright spots in your days in a reply below, so that we can lift each other up.
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11