Something unexpected has started happening this last week. Amid the panic and fear and isolation of social distancing. For a while I’ve dreaded looking at my social media. It’s all bad news, the coronavirus, the stock market plunge, more closings, more confirmed cases.
But then I started seeing some good things. Yoga studios who have had to close were offering online classes. Broadway stars and musicians started going live on Instagram with free impromptu concerts. Artists started giving free drawing classes for the children at home. The news started posting stories of young healthy people grocery shopping for at risk older adults and bringing them some nourishment both for their body and their soul, contactless contact.
And a few days later, people were coming up with creative ways to interact. Formal Friday Dinner Parties via video conferencing services. It was inspiring and inspired. I started looking forward to seeing all the new and creative ways we were coming up with to support each other and fill our need for interaction.
Amid the ramping up of creative interaction there was also the opportunity to slow down. The hours of unplanned time at home has been such a blessing. At first it was filled with the mundane catching up of chores. Doing that extra load of laundry, deep cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms. Panic buying toilet paper and hand soap. But after those chores are done, then what.
Kim and I have had the time to really reconnect. Instead of running to work, rushing to make dinner when we get home, rushing to workout, rushing to watch our hour of tv together before I go to bed and he starts his personal creative alone time, we now have long stretches of time to just be in companionship. It’s created a new kind of serenity and deeper feeling of knowing and being known.
Yes, this is a time of uncertainty and serious concerns. But it’s also an unexpected time out of time. A time to reconnect with those we often overlook, in ways we often overlook. In time, our lives will return to a faster pace. This will become a story we tell our children. But while we live it, let’s live it well. Let’s live it with intention and calmness and surrender. So much of our lives are out of our control. But not the parts that matter. Interacting with kindness, and understanding and encouragement are all still choices we make.
I wake each day with a feeling of optimism and hope and calm. What new things will I learn today about the resilience of humanity. In ways I’ve never encountered before I enthusiastically look forward to greeting the world. No one was more surprised than I. Especially during a time like this. And maybe that’s the blessing.