As I write this, we are a couple of weeks into quarantine due to the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak. Quarantine orders have been extended until the end of April, 2020, some states are closing school until the end of the school year, and we are all going a bit stir-crazy.
This pandemic is certainly unlike anything we’ve seen before in the massive global effect it has had. It’s tragic to think of the lives lost as well as all those effected economically.
With that said, though, I truly believe there are a number of good things coming out of this historic time. We all are hearing more than enough of the bad news right now, and believe me, I would never want to discount the precious lives lost during this time. But I thought I’d take a minute and explore things from an optimistic perspective.
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We can only do so much to change the current situation (stay at home kids!), but we can do a lot about how we choose to look at it and be affected by it. If we don’t choose our response, the world will choose for us, and right now there is a lot of fear and anxiety being spread. It’s perhaps more contagious than the virus itself. I like to be informed, but I also like to maintain a spirit of positivity and hope. If we’re going to be walking this road, I’d much rather do it with a smile knowing that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him than wracked with fear.
There is beauty in every moment, something good that can come from every situation, if you are willing to see it.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.Romans 8:28
Five Positive Side Effects of Quarantine
1. Reminding us to think about other people
During this time, we are staying home as much for other people as we are for ourselves. We know that people over 65 years old and also those with preexisting conditions are most at risk during this time. As we leave our homes for essential tasks such as going to the grocery store and such, we are being more and more mindful of those around us – giving people space, choosing to forgo “fun” activities or lingering, offering to help those who may not be able to get out and about themselves. This time has caused us all to take an extra thought for others above ourselves.
2. Bringing family together again
My favorite side effect of quarantine is that families are being brought together again. I’ve seen more families spending time together, going for bike rides, fathers pushing babies in strollers, and parents helping kids with school. Families are truly spending more time together now than ever before. Parents are more engaged with their children, children with their parents. Families are learning to do life together as once was the norm. It’s a beautiful thing to see and be seen by the ones you are closest to.
3. Slowing down the pace
Our world has gotten bad about rushing, rushing, rushing. People are encouraged to “hustle” all day and all night, not just work a day job but also have a successful side gig, maintain an active social life, and build a family (family typically being shoved to the bottom of the to-do list). The current global situation has caused us all to breathe a collective deep breath and slow way down though. We can’t do all the things we normally do or rush here and there. Our circumstances are forcing us to take a step back. We are often more effective when we slow down and get focused on what’s important.
4. Making the home central to life
Up until a decade or so ago, home was the epicenter of life in the western world. Family was viewed as the foundation of society. People were invested in their families, did life regularly with loved ones, and communed in the home. Friends and family were regularly over at one another’s houses and vice versa. But recently, home has taken a backburner to work and all the many places we can convene with one another such as malls, the movies, restaurants, coffee shops, even workplaces. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all these things. They make for good times. But they also can shift us away from the home. We are out and about more than we are in. Home is a resting place. It’s home-base, our landing place. A shift back toward home as the center of things is a good shift because it offers stability. It reminds us of who we are and where we came from and gives us the space to grow and develop. A plant moved around from pot to pot or place to place will have a hard time growing, but if it is planted, it will grow deep roots. Without deep, strong roots, a plant won’t be nourished, and it won’t be able to grow. Having home as the epicenter of life is planting ourselves in a place where we will be able to grow.
5. Giving perspective on what’s important
The final positive side effect of this quarantine I see (though I’m sure there are many more if we were to take a moment to seek them out) is that it reminds us and gives us perspective on what is important. All of a sudden all the plans we had for these couple of months are cancelled, yet here we are, standing strong in spite of the chaos. These unique circumstances bring to light what is truly important – our loved ones, our dreams and goals, our health, our faith.
Many couples had weddings scheduled for the next couple of months, plans for amazing bachelorette parties and gorgeous receptions followed by their dream honeymoon. But all of that is cancelled or postponed. Still, though, I have seen countless stunning pictures of weddings that were carried out anyway with just the couple, the preacher, and the immediate family. Why would people move forward without all the fanfare? Because, love is what matters, the relationship is what matters, the marriage is what matters, not the cake and venue. And we will all be so excited to celebrate these lovers when we are able to wrap them in a hug next, but the important part is that they are in love and married.
Many parents are getting a new perspective on their children’s education. They are shifting focus from work, work, work, to finding ways to make learning fun for their children. Their eyes are opening to the many practical as well as scholastic lessons they can teach their children, and they are finding neat, new ways to engage with their kids. Husbands and wives are learning to work together better as they respect one another’s time and space.
We are finding ways to connect with those we love in new ways, making time out of our schedules to facetime Grandma and Grandpa, cousins, and friends. We are putting connection and relationship over productivity, and we are getting perspective on what will last even if all else fades away.
The Point of Optimism
In unusual and difficult times like these, finding the good can be difficult to do. We are all a little stir-crazy, a little frightened, and certainly saddened by the losses we’ve faced. Nevertheless, the beauty of life is that we always have a choice of how we will respond to situations.
We can listen to the media all day and heighten our anxiety, or we can turn off the tv and enjoy the moment we are in. We can live in fear or in peace, we can live in joy or despair. The current situation is what it is.
How are you going to respond in the face of it?