More than 10 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus and about 240,000 of those have died. So many have lost jobs and, with that, healthcare.
Epidemiologists warn that infections will grow as we hunker down inside during colder weather. These are just a few of the many challenges and difficulties born of the coronavirus pandemic. I don’t want to downplay those challenges and difficulties in any way, but I’d like to invite you to consider the positive coming from our pandemic time.
Community spirit and positive experiences
Renewed community spirit has cropped up in many places. Think of all those groups sewing masks as just one example. Reduced carbon emissions in the early days of sheltering in place resulted in cleaner air. Some with internet access have greatly expanded their cultural intake, virtually visiting museums and collections worldwide or watching and listening to recordings made in pre-pandemic times.
Here are some positive experiences I’ve had over the last several months. My closest college friends and I have been gathering virtually once a month. It’s a one-hour-shot-in-the arm, boosting morale and laughing with some of my oldest friends. We span two states and two continents. While two or three of us have occasionally been able to be together in person, it’s been rare that the four of us have been in the same place at the same time. These monthly gatherings via Zoom are like sitting around a dorm room, sharing a bowl of popcorn!
I’ve participated in several virtual events that, had circumstances been different, I likely wouldn’t have had the time or the money to attend. I watched an interview with author Louise Penny, live from her home in rural Quebec, as part of a book launch. I participated in a virtual writing class with author Anne Lamott from her home in northern California. Recently, I attended a virtual fundraiser for the Quilt Alliance (the annual in-person event has been in Manhattan before); it included a quilt exhibit, the third one I’ve been able to view virtually.
Pause and be grateful
My husband and I put in a raised bed garden early on and potted up lots of herbs in five containers. Usually, I wouldn’t have time for a garden during a triennial convention and gathering year, but not so in 2020. I’ve enjoyed connecting with the seasons and nature through the garden, and our family has enjoyed all the vegetables and herbs.
Do an online search, and you’ll find article after article chronicling the health benefits of expressing gratitude. Who couldn’t use some health benefits now? Take some time each day to pause and be grateful. I’m grateful for all the silver lining experiences that have happened over the last several months. Expressing gratitude for those experiences builds resiliency to face the many difficult challenges and an uncertain future.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA. One way to express gratitude is through Thankofferings. Learn how here.