The coronavirus has abruptly changed life as we knew it. Daily routines that once gave us comfort are now a thing of the past. A morning visit with our favorite coffee barista, hanging out with co-workers in the office, an evening yoga class or the gym, all on hold for an indeterminate amount of time.
Replacing these rituals is a repetitive, groundhog day experience comprised of video conference calls, teaching others how to use video conference calls, refreshing the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 map, checking the stock market, recalculating how much money we lost, and trying to stay sane in the new world of social distance.
The coronavirus is a full-time exercise in fear, patience and anxiety. We walk the dog ten times a day, check our temperature when feeling tired, and worry about the jogger who isn’t wearing a face mask. Oddly, we also avoid looking at people who pass us on the street as if the virus can spread through eye contact.
The combination of abandoning our daily routines, and continually hearing and reading about something deadly floating around out there is creating global fear, anxiety and depression. But today I came across a quote that I found comforting, and thought I should share it with you…
“Though there will always be challenges in life, it is how we respond to these challenges that determines if we experience happiness.”
After reading that quote a CNBC headline flashed across the television indicating the stock market was down another six percent despite the Fed’s stimulus package. I’m thinking about a good way to respond to the loss of our financial security. Vacations are overrated? Going out to dinner is overrated? Now we can stay home and eat canned tuna?
Sarcasm aside, we know what the quote is trying to say, and it is the right way to think about things. And so I consider another perspective.
My son is home from college and my daughter, who lives across town, has also joined us for the duration of this shelter in place order. We are sharing a small apartment, and each of us is craving some privacy. But, I have the pleasure of seeing my adult children every day, even if we are all wearing headphones.
I watch my wife and daughter practice yoga together. My son cooks a gourmet dinner for us and suggests we say a prayer before eating. It is a wonderful idea. Something we rarely do. A prayer expressing our appreciation, love, and thoughts for healing the world.
Will my family get on each other’s nerves, invade personal space, argue, and grow incredibly frustrated? Absolutely. But years from now, when we look back on 2020, we may recall the fear and grief caused by the pandemic, but it will be this unexpected gift of connectedness that I will cherish.
I invite you to consider the perspective that you may never have this time again.
Social distancing is the wrong term for what we are all doing. We are physically distancing. But socially, this may be our moment to come together.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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