We feel scared, out of control, or both. The fact is most of life is out of our control with or without a global virus. We have been forced into this situation, but that does not mean all is lost. There are some fantastic benefits.
- Learn How to Slow Down. Most of us know we need to slow down, but we rarely do. In 1989, I went to work in an office that had a fax machine. I was blown away that a piece of paper inserted into this marvelous device would come out the other end on a roll of paper in another city, state, or country. Before the 80s, the quickest way for most of us to send or receive information was via overnight mail. Fast-forward to today and younger generations have never used a fax. Why would they when we have instantaneous email and text messaging? We still have the modern electronic conveniences, but this pandemic is forcing all of us to slow down in some way.
- Re-Evaluate Priorities. It’s far too easy to get caught up in what is not truly important. Often, it takes something drastic to begin re-evaluating priorities. The real challenge will be keeping those priorities after the dust settles on the Coronavirus.
- Put Real Heroes in the Spotlight.It has always rubbed me the wrong way that athletes and actors are considered heroes. An actor or athlete can be a hero to someone if they have a compelling or inspiring story. The mere fact that they play a game or act for a living should not automatically characterize them as heroes. Now, the real heroes are in the spotlight: nurses, doctors, other medical professionals, first responders, police officers, truckers, our troops, and even people working at the grocery stores. We are recognizing the incredible response of educators, the compassion of churches, and everyday heroes sacrificing at their job and in their communities. Let’s try to keep the same perspective as life returns to normal.
- More Creativity. The ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me. In a crisis, the human spirit is strong, and creative juices flow like never before. Individuals and collective groups come together to solve problems, entertain, and enlighten us.
- Learn to Like Yourself. People are stuck at home, spending more time with #1 than ever before. I believe liking yourself and enjoying being with the person you spend the majority of your precious time with should be a priority. Take this opportunity to enjoy being with YOU.
- Spend More Time Focused on God. We turn to God in times of trouble. Now and then, Rich and I discuss all we have been through, and we ask ourselves if we would be on our knees in the way that we have the last 20 years had all hell not broken loose. The answer is easy. Past challenges, and those we still face, remind us that God is in this with us. He is the only constant in the ever-changing world in which we live. We have our Spiritual Armor strapped on tight, facing the Beast, and standing strong and courageous with God at our sides.
- Stand Together (6 feet apart) Like Never Before. Unity is something we all crave to some degree. We were designed to be in communion with others. A sense of belonging is high on our list of what is essential. The citizens of the United States stood together on and after September 11, 2001, as our country was under terrorist attack. We felt the love and support of other countries. With the worldwide plague we are facing today, we are standing together as a human race. We may be six feet apart, but we are together in spirit like no other time most of us can recall.
- More Concern For Our Older Population. We respect our elders, but we also tend to forget about them. The concern for the health of our older population has hit an all-time high, propelling us into a new mindset. With age comes wisdom and perspective that should be valued. In my twenties, I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, visiting my great-aunts who still lived in their childhood home. Lottie and Dorothy were hilarious and could tell captivating stories, and I hung on their every word. Gone are the days when young people sit at the feet of their grandparents, but I hope this crisis will help to restore some of the respect that is due to our elders.
- Opportunities to Build Courage. It takes courage to have, do, or be anything worth having, doing, or being. It isn’t during the good times that courage is created or increased. When muscles are overworked, it causes microscopic damage to the fibers, resulting in soreness or stiffness. The upside of your aching thighs is that the muscles get stronger through the process of breaking down and building back up. What we are experiencing these days will cause a few micro-tears in your emotional, mental, and spiritual muscles. But, you will grow more resilient and better able to handle whatever life throws at you next.
We have one of two choices to make. Either we allow fear and uncertainty to take us down to the mat, or we decide to stand up and fight. I hope you choose to fight. I am standing with you.