Other than medical treatment that requires me to be at a doctor’s office in person, I’ve been at my place of residence since March 11th. I am naturally an introvert and a homebody, so COVID-19 hasn’t been a catastrophic event in my life. Nevertheless, I’ve been challenged to live a deeper, better life.
After three straight weeks of isolation, judging by social media only, I’m noticing I’m not the only one. For some people, the pandemic we find ourselves fighting against and the subsequent restrictions we find imposed on us are providing some good and necessary benefits.
Good, because they are helping us to consider the things we could be doing that are constructive, helpful, and needed, instead of simply reacting to the next perceived emergency that requires running to this store and that store, to get a bite to eat, to see the newest movie, to grab more supplies for the hobby we will never get to before we die, or …. dare I say it?
To attend the fifth church activity of the week.
And necessary, because it is no mystery why so many Americans are obese, sick with heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases that come along due to chronic high stress and high caloric diets. Even when we feel as though we are active because we rush from one place to another, the truth is that many of us are sedentary. We sit while we drive to and fro, visit a friend, watch a movie, wait for the doc, read a book, scroll social media, work our office job, and eat our meals. Unless we are purposely making time for exercising, the hard truth is that most of us aren’t exercising much whilst eating more than our fair share.
I happen to live in a state that is considered one of the fittest in the USA, but I remember when we moved to the northwest many years ago. I was shocked at how many people were overweight. Nearly everyone we came into contact with was at least fifty pounds too heavy – often much more. Granted, the northwest’s weather patterns are not what I’m used to living under in my state. We have partial sunshine 300 days out of the year! So I’m not judging.anyone. I know how it is. When I lived up north, it was so cold and drizzly with constant gray skies. I didn’t want to go out much, and my motivation level was close to zilch. Just like those who were so overweight.
But I digress.
None of the sedentary activities I’ve mentioned are inherently sinful. Many are necessary. But since we’ve all been on lockdown, I see families coming together to make dinner, and more importantly, eat dinner, together. I hear the worries and fears of what may happen, but folks are talking about those worries and fears, rather than bottling them up and/or self-medicating in an attempt to deal with them. I am personally having deeper, more fulfilling conversations because I feel I have more time, more opportunity, more mojo for such things.
We have slowed down enough to think. To consider others. To consider ways of life that perhaps may be better than what we’ve become accustomed to. Granted, there are some who are still hoarding toilet paper, honey, and pizza dough (ask me how I know), but the truth is, there will always be people who think only of themselves, no matter the circumstances.
All in all, a period of time out has been a good thing for America. Our fast paced lives, coupled with our bickering needed to be addressed, as did our lack of family time and unhealthy vices. Do I think we’ve changed overnight? No. But I do think we are thinking deeper about these things, pondering how the lives we’ve been living for so long may not be the best lives we could live. As for our bickering, political, religious, or otherwise … has it not been tempered to a degree? Are we not, in our inability to live normally, considering what and who are truly important in life?
I’m not trying to be a Polyanna here. The Coronavirus hasn’t healed the world of all that ails us. But a worldwide pandemic may just be the start to a different path. Not necessarily a new path, but a different path from the one we’ve been on for too long. A healthier, morally superior path that leaves us more considerate of others and more God-focused than we’ve been in far too long.
A less destructive path.
Perhaps the lack of getting out in the world has me thinking thoughts entirely too lofty. Then again, perhaps I’m on to something. More importantly, God may be up to something, in which case, a pandemic may just be the start of something beneficial in the long run.
These are interesting times. When 2020 hit, my thought and hope was that America’s vision would clear. I am not of the opinion that any of us can see perfectly, because we are all hopelessly flawed sinners in need of a Savior. But I believe my Savior, Jesus Christ, can and does see perfectly, and I know He works in our individual lives just as he works in and through entire countries, dignitaries, and world leaders. And sometimes, He does so through pain and suffering.
This pandemic is painful, whether we personally are infected with COVID-19 or not. Everyone under the sky has had to make major life adjustments. People often get angry with God over their suffering, but if you look at the history of the world in conjunction with what God has done with and in individual souls as a result of hardship, pain, and suffering, one cannot deny that when times get rough, people begin to listen. They begin to hear things they normally wouldn’t in better times.
As C.S. Lewis once said … God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
A possible benefit of the Coronavirus is that a deaf world has been roused to hear the voice and reason of God.
I am not well-known for my Polyanna disposition. I don’t typically look at the world and the suffering therein through rose-colored glasses. My glasses are usually grey, cloudy, and dark. But amidst the current pandemic, even I, a veritable Eeyore, can see progress. Some turning away from living lives that are meh … vanilla, or worse, downright evil, and turning to what’s better. And that leaves this typically melancholy girl hopeful.