|Pandemic. At the risk of stating the obvious, we are living through unusual days.
No matter what part of the country you are in, if you listen to or read any news at all, you are aware that the world is more than a little chaotic right now.
At the very least, there is much uncertainty. And no one really knows how long this will last—this season of “social distancing” to prevent the spread of an invisible enemy.
In a very short period of time, life has changed dramatically in parts of the world because of a viral pandemic. The new coronavirus is officially known as SARS-CoV-2. And the disease it can cause is COVID-19. It is highly contagious. And those who catch it are contagious to others before they have any symptoms of being sick themselves.
Thus the recommendations to work from home if possible. And to stay away from social environments. In many areas there are strongly suggested restrictions on meeting in large groups. School, sports, and all kinds of social events are cancelled from your cousin’s wedding to the annual fashion gala at the Metropolitan Opera.
All this to try and slow the pandemic.
So for many of us, life has slowed down somewhat. Non-essential trips out are strongly discouraged, so many of us are simply staying home.
The virus poses some very real threats, especially to persons who are older or have underlying medical conditions. But not just to them.
So what do we do?
Binge on news until we run panicking to the grocery and empty the shelves? Or watch Netflix to numb out and wait for this to all go away?
Is it possible that in this unusual season, we have been given a sort of gift? And could it be the very thing we never seem to have enough of?
Many of us complain that there is never enough time to do all the simple things we would love to accomplish.
So what should we do with this gift?
You may have a stack of books you’ve been intending to read. Your kids may be clamoring to play board games. Perhaps there’s a creative project or a cleaning task you never seem to get to, and now there is this unexpected… time.
You may be spending much more time than usual with those closest to you. Is this the time for leisurely conversations? The time to sit facing each other and really talk about important things?
Perhaps you have a child who will go off to college soon and you wonder if they are ready, and now you have this…time. Or perhaps you have a relationship that is in in disarray and you need to pick up the phone or write a letter or send a long email and now you have this…time.
What a gift!
Is there time now to show respect and build trust by listening patiently to each another?
Time to show support to older neighbors and friends who may need help right now?
Certainly there is time to demonstrate exceptional love in the way we treat one another in these stressful days.
What does that look like for you?
And finally, could we all use this gift of time to pray for those whose lives are even busier and more chaotic because of this public health emergency?
Like medical professionals and first responders and those who keep the supply lines running and grocery stores supplied with goods?
And could we also remember those who are sick and scared? And those who have no work and thus no paycheck because of the pandemic?
In this season when we all feel like there is so much over which we have no control, the one thing we can control is how we respond. How we use what we are given.
Is it possible that even in the midst of a pandemic, there are gifts for us to discover and ways for us to bless each other?