How do we come out better on the back side of a pandemic?

By Steve Hamblin

I painted a bathroom in our house recently and said goodbye to some horrible lavender walls.  The family was amazed at how the walls appeared like three different colors depending on the light cast from the light fixture and the position of the sun coming through the window.  The paint was identical, but the perspective shifted and the light caused different things to stand out, spots with funny texture, a repair patch from moving a towel bar, and areas I missed paint and needed to touch up.  Much like our current situation, the perspectives have shifted and we have new or different insights we might not have had before.  We didn’t ask for this challenge, but it is here and how can we grow from it?

One of my favorite song lyrics (in the top 20 anyway) comes from Paul Simon’s “Gumboots” song off the album “Graceland” from 1986.  
Breakdowns come, and breakdowns go,
So what are you going to do about, that’s what I’d like to know.

This song lyric always comes to my mind when things in my life, wanted or unwanted, come and go. This line reminds me that I’m responsible for my reaction to the situation when the situations are well outside of my control.  I can’t directly control the economy, a pandemic, the weather, difficulty in getting food and supplies, but I certainly control my response to these situations.  I can do my best to bring positivity and goodness as I respond to these things.  I can also focus on what I can directly influence or change.

Nobody asked for COVID-19.  None of us have chosen this trial, but nonetheless, it has arrived for us (and the other 7.5 billion of us on Earth) and we are all navigating this new, unprecedented time.

One of the things I have appreciated is the change in routine.  It has resulted in a lot less distractions, and has provided a time to simply acknowledge where I’m at…the good, the bad, or the indifferent.  It’s a perfect time to evaluate where you are and sit with it.  Don’t chase it away with another distraction or by making yourself busy.  Sit with the challenges you may face and engage (or confront!) them and work through it.  Reach out to others to help you navigate it if needed.  We are all on a journey and it’s good to stop, look around, and rethink our approach.  Has there ever been a better time to do so?
Like September 11th was, I believe COVID-19 is another major inflection point in humanity.  When was the last time the entire planet took a time-out?  Things won’t be the same.  What do you look forward to coming out of this, what have you gained, what new insight or goodness has come to you?  A few things come to mind:
* Increased awareness of caring for and needing each other (aka community).
* How interconnected we are regardless of race, religion, nationalities, economics, and borders.
* Increased awareness of hygiene (the germ freak in me is thrilled).
* The value of a big hug.
* How blessed we are with the ability to purchase basic goods locally and online.
* How short our attention span is and how we could improve our endurance and stamina through trials.  We need to bolster our tolerance for looking after the bigger picture at the cost of a little personal inconvenience.  
* Increased time with my immediate family.
* Better appreciation for needs vs wants.  I want a new motorcycle.  I need food.  
* How will I make better use of my commute when it restarts?  Prayer, life-giving podcasts, etc.?
* How can I better engage with my neighbors when we are able?
* How can I better serve the community groups, services, and local churches who have had increased demand with less resources?
* How can I support leaders during times like this when they are thrust into making very difficult decisions?

So what are you going to do about it?  That’s what I’d like to know.

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