We can all quickly recollect pivotal moments in history. For our grandparents, it was Pearl Harbor, for our parents, it may have been the assassination of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. for us it was 9/11. For our children, it will be the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the spring when life as we knew it changed.
Seniors are mourning the loss of graduations and proms. Athletes are wondering how the event cancellations will affect their hopes of playing collegiate sports. Parents are discovering a newfound appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of teachers who have educated and nourished our children for years.
Amidst the turmoil and chaos that has been created in grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies, there is also a beautiful thing going on. I drove to the beach with the girls a couple of days ago thinking we would have a quiet walk by the water catching up with a friend they’ve known since kindergarten. Driving through the small town where our town beach lies, the girls immediately remarked on how many people were out biking, jogging and walking with friends. It wasn’t just a child or two biking down the sidewalk but entire families cycling through the streets together. We arrived at the beach and were shocked to see the shore speckled with families walking together, laughing and flying kites. I was nervous about the larger number of people out and about who probably had the same thought I did – take a safe walk outside by yourself in the fresh air. However, I had to take a moment and just smile at the hidden blessing that has been given to us all in this tumultuous time.
This spring, many families will for the first time in months if not years, sit together at the dinner table not just one or two but every night of the week. Siblings who may have barely spoken on a daily basis will play games, finish puzzles or toss a ball in the yard. Pets will be given all of the attention they have yearned for when we leave for work and school in the morning.
My husband is getting an early start on his garden, I have pulled my watercolors out of the boxes and my girls have been baking and cooking together – and yes making Tik Toks – every day. These are all of the simple things that we never had time for. No, that we never made time for. Call me a blind optimist, but I am so grateful for this forced recharge that we are all experiencing. And the icing on the cake? Thanks to everyone staying home, the environment is benefiting and Mother Nature has also been given a chance to catch her breath. Click here for a full article on the unintended benefits of coronavirus on the environment.
None of this eases the tremendous pain felt by small businesses and families with parents who are now out of work, and so I encourage everyone to use this gift of time that we have all been given to not only love yourself and your family but to think of ways that you can help your neighbor, your co-worker, your friend. Do you have resources that you can share with others? That resource can be monetary, a commodity or even your knowledge. Donate your money, your time, your knowledge or all of the above. Just come up with at least one thing that you can do during this time of social distancing to enrich the life of someone else.
~ Ayo Hart