Stay connected from afar
We keep hearing the refrain, “We’re all in this together,” and it’s true. We may not physically be together, but we are absolutely united in spirit.
“You need to make time for your family no matter what happens in your life,” Silver Linings Playbook advises, yet it is easy to lose focus of our priorities during all of the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. As such, this time is an opportunity to spend quality time with the loved ones in your home. Use this time to eat together, play games, and share other experiences. Puzzles are selling out because so many people are working on them while social distancing.
This is also a period when many are most connected with or reconnecting with their faith and spirituality. Religion offers comfort to those who believe and provides a community of fellow believers. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are hosting virtual services in order to safely keep in touch with their faithful and come together to pray and worship.
Cross off your to-do list
Additionally, now is the time to read that stack of books or articles or binge-watch new shows on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and other streaming services. Reading and watching television and movies offer a welcome escape from the often anxiety-inducing COVID-19 news. If you’re feeling news fatigue, take a break and search for positive stories of inspiration and empathy.
On social media, there are jokes and memes about how much weight people are gaining during social distancing, but there are also jokes about “prison bods,” the latter suggesting a freer schedule allows people to work out more. This time of isolation is a perfect juncture to work on your health by, in part, getting in better shape. There are a plethora of apps on your phone with free and paid-for workouts, and YouTube has a myriad of free workouts — anything from dancing to Krav Maga to a standard workout.
Enjoy the rare quietness
We all hope that this strange time ends soon, most importantly, because of the tragic loss of lives. Further, we want this to end so we can get back to life as we know it. However, because most of the world slowing down is such an oddity, we have a rare occasion to pause and appreciate the peace and silence.
Last week, I slept for eight hours straight for the first time in years. Although I’m concerned about the danger of this virus and the destruction to the economy because of it, I think my good night’s sleep was a product of everything being less hectic around me. Streets are quieter; people are less rushed.
Oddly, in a time of viral terror, there is a certain tranquility in our responsibility to stay at home and not infect ourselves and others. It’s one of the silver linings to this tragedy:
“Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back… I’m telling you.” – Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook
Soak up nature
The quiet also allows us to get back in touch with nature. It’s a healthy reminder for all of us that, although it seems like life has stopped, our lives as we remember them will be back. The birds still soar overhead; the waters still ebb and flow; the sun still rises and sets. Nature does not know of this dangerous virus, the spread of which we’re all trying to slow, and there’s a certain comfort in that.
All of this life surrounding me, coupled with the sunrise and sunset each day, keeps me grounded and reminds me that life does indeed go on and we will return to the life we once knew and, perhaps in some ways, better than ever.
Silver Linings Playbook weighs in on the importance of the beauty surrounding us: “…maybe God will be pleased enough to lend me some help, which I think is why He has been showing me interesting clouds for the past week.”
Appreciate what you took for granted
Matthew Quick wrote, “Most people lose the ability to see silver linings even though they are always there above us almost every day.”
Many of us have been so busy that we’ve taken for granted seemingly innocuous and enduring aspects of everyday life like visiting grandchildren, grocery shopping, shaking hands, being part of a crowd at sports games and concerts, or dining out at a restaurant. Perhaps, when all is back to the routine and this strange era is a distant memory, we will have gratitude for the simple things that, aggregated, make life sublime.
Learn from this
Perhaps, yet another silver lining of this awful pandemic will be that more people have learned how to employ good hygienic practices and, going forward, this will help minimize the spread of other pathogens.
Finally, the world has learned invaluable lessons about preparedness for a pandemic; thus, we should be much more prepared if and when another one hits.
There are numerous other lessons our society at large can learn and implement when the acute part of this crisis is over. Only time will tell what they will be, but the thought of it offers fresh hope for even better tomorrows.
“If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.” – Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook
Prepare for a season of fullness
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s Easter Sunday homily during the live-streamed Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City was about emptiness before fullness. We may be in a season of emptiness right now, but it is sure to lead to a season of fullness.
Put another way by Matthew Quick, “I’m thinking this is the part of my movie where things appear as if nothing is going to work out. I have to remind myself that all movie characters go through this sort of dark period before they find their happy ending.” We will come out of this and we will be stronger, individually and collectively.
If you’re struggling during this time, I hope this helped. If your despair is interfering with your life, please talk to a trusted loved one and/or seek professional help. Otherwise, hang in there, wash your hands, and take care of each other.