By: Sandy Churchill
Someday, we will look back on this wacky Coronavirus time—perhaps referring to it as the “pandemic pandemonium”, “COVID chaos”, or the “plague of 2020”. For now, however, we are navigating tough times. Some are struggling with the total upset of routine and freedom, confined at home and perhaps overwhelmed with concerns about our children’s education, employment, finances, and safety for our families, friends, neighbors, and communities. Some are caving to the pessimism of gloom-and-doom economic impact and global uncertainty about future viral waves of epic proportions. A smaller percentage are dig-in-and-remain-hopeful folks who have the wisdom to balance awareness and caution with a refreshing dose of optimism.
On the initial announcements of school closings, I honestly felt overwhelmed as a steady stream of several hundred emails filled my in-box—canceling everything from enrichment classes I teach to scouts to piano. A couple weeks in, our homeschool co-op canceled for the rest of the year. Karate was suspended, plays postponed, and on and on. Our friends with high school or college seniors have been particularly hard, losing such milestone events as proms, graduations, awards ceremonies, and classmate celebrations. I can only hope that we can choose to make the most of this uncertain time, a “sabbatical” of sorts to some, work almost as usual for others, but a drastic shelter-in-place change for sure.
It’s taken a few weeks to breathe and embrace the upside, because I keep fixating on the disappointments among people I love and can empathize with their losses as well. So I am choosing to look for the good, like a scavenger hunt where the jewels gleam hidden among the leaves on a forest trail.
Staying home and missing much-anticipated events can be disappointing, but many silver linings remain. My oldest daughter is thrilled to catch up on reading, my son is delving into piano, and I am looking forward to sewing future gifts. As long as we keep our social distance, outdoor time is another way to reduce stress and spend time with family. This phase can be a chance to enjoy the extra time with each other, hunker down, and get things done—both practical and fun.
We are thrilled to be expecting our first grandbaby, and while my daughter is limited to attending her ultrasounds alone for now, she shared a recording of the baby’s heartbeat with us! My middle daughter works on a college campus, and though confined to home for now, is using videoconferencing software to its fullest so she can remain present and supportive for her students and staff. My teenage son is continuing an online class, but embarking on additional reading and projects, and even has the ability to access his karate class remotely online.
I have been stitching hospital masks for the community, made candles, and even wrote and illustrated a children’s book during this time. My son and I started a daily “learning at home” idea post on Facebook with both academic and enrichment challenges to assist those who might be struggling with the upset in the school routine. The wacky timing of this pandemic enabled my husband and I to work with our children and their spouses on long-planned projects such as painting our family room and beginning to replace the floor in our living room.
My son and I were blessed to help a local florist deliver flowers and fruit to several elderly members of the community, and we’ve been doing our best to support local businesses during this scary time. Through it all, we remain prayerful and phone-connected to many family members and friends to help buoy each other’s spirits. So perhaps the greatest silver lining of all? Gratitude, for the many blessings of hearth and home, amazing healthcare heroes, community spirit, and most of all… each other.