A year ago I wrote this blog with a friend. We made the decision that the time was not right to post it. There was too much trauma, too much to absorb to share it at the time. But I found it again this week, and I felt like the time was right. I’m not updating it. I’m not making the verbs past tense. We are still in this. But I am asking that we reflect on a year ago. I showed more grace to others and to myself a year ago. I took more walks a year ago. I found more intentional ways to connect with the people I love a year ago. I think it would be a mistake not to learn from the last year, not to reflect on what matters most, and not to continue living our lives with that in mind.
There is no silver lining to the Coronavirus. There is no silver lining to people gasping for breath or dying alone. There is no silver lining to overwhelmed hospitals or lack of ventilators or health care workers being forced to choose who lives and who dies. No silver lining to any of that. COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and there is no silver lining to a global pandemic.
But in order to fight the spread of the virus, we have come together and made significant changes to our way of life. Closing bars and restaurants and gyms and even schools has forced us into a more simple existence. We are making do with less. We are buying less. We are running around less. We are living smaller lives with greater significance.
And that, when the illness and the death and the crisis is over, will be a silver lining.
We are doing less of the things that aren’t really good for us anyway. Gambling is at an all-time low. Crime rates are dropping. Pollution is lessening. We are giving our children afternoons and evenings off instead of keeping them scheduled from sun up to sun down.
Hospitals are only treating those with the most needs. We are feeding the hungry and providing access for those who can’t afford it.
We no longer judge weddings or funerals by how many people were there or how elaborate the flowers were or how much money was spent planning it. It’s about the people we love the most coming together in those moments.
Sports headlines are about the players. They’re about what we miss- people doing what they love and pushing themselves to compete at the highest levels. It’s not about winners and losers. It’s about the joy of the game.
We are working out for free. Kids are playing outside without equipment or video games or electronics, using their imaginations.
Families are spending time together, sitting on front porches, taking walks together. Parents are focused on their children. Siblings are talking to each other and playing with each other and recognizing the bond they will always share.
We are cooking more. Even if we get take-out or delivery to support our local businesses, we are eating together at home.
We call each other and text and snap and Facetime just to connect. We are connecting with people who have always been there, but we have been too busy to pause and take the time to see.
All of these are silver linings.
All of these are things that we should hold dear and take with us into the after. Because there will be an after. And if we can learn from this current way of life, there will also be a silver lining.