Covid-19 has a silver lining.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s an awful thing, and I wish I could turn back time and make it not exist. But since it’s here, in all its stay-at-home, social-distancing glory, we might as well make the best of it. Many have done that, by working on all those home projects we’ve been meaning to do for years, but haven’t had time to complete.
While most specialty stores have remained dormant during this time, home improvement retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot have maintained a steady business and nearly full parking lots. Customers with face masks and gloves roam the stores, looking for tools and supplies to paint their bedrooms, remodel their bathrooms, or improve their kitchens. They stand, 6 feet apart, perusing plants and seeds, visions of gardenias and cucumbers dancing in their heads.
Rick has built an entire shop in the last month and a half. I’ve . . . well, I swept the shop floor for him a couple of times. But I’m writing a book, so I don’t have time to be productive.
In addition to work-at-home endeavors, family productivity has increased in the relationship department. Parents and siblings sit around the kitchen table, playing games like Farkle and Heads Up. Cooks and non-cooks try new recipes. They watch movies together for the second, third, twelfth time, quoting lines from memory. Instead of pouring our time and energy into work and social connections, we’re investing in those people who will be there for us for the long haul. These are the folks who will hand feed us and read to us and wash our hair when we’re too old and feeble to do those things for ourselves.
This virus may want to destroy us, but the joke is on COVID-19. Instead of killing our spirits, it’s given us a gift. It’s taught us to slow down and enjoy our lives. It’s taught us to invest in our families. It’s taught us — a society addicted to busy-ness — to be still.
This isn’t a new problem. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses this issue. “We urge you, brothers and sisters . . . to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you . . .” 1 Thessalonians 4:10-11.
While I look forward to that day when we can go to church, enjoy group sports, and survive the crush of Black Friday sales, I’m grateful. I’m glad for the opportunity to slow down. To have long conversations with my children. To pour my energy into my home and family.
Research shows that historically, global pandemics have had lasting effects on society. While I hope it ends soon, and I hope the negative effects are kept to a minimum, I also hope that after this, our society will be changed for the better. I hope we’ll be quieter. More peaceful. More invested in the things that matter most.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.