The Silver Lining from the COVID-19 Cloud

As I write this, I’m sitting in my office beginning the fourth day of the isolation brought about by the COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) pandemic.

I work for a company where travel every week is the norm. Last week, as I sat in a corporate office in Chicago, we listened to our travel scenario gradually degrade from ‘travel as normal’ to ‘no meetings with over 25 people’ to ‘no travel to client offices’ to stay at home and work remotely.

As Monday came along, our highly technological company struggled with overworked meeting servers and the inability to dial in. The whole working world had moved to this model and the infrastructure was not ready.

Now, four days in, my perspective on the ‘inconvenience’ of the restrictions on travel and gathering are helping me form a different perspective on what’s happening in the world.

I know many are suffering from this virus, but I can’t help but see the potential positive effects that this event may have on the world’s population. It all started with this image that I saw on Facebook and was compelled to share:

This simple poem hit me very hard. Although I’m an introverted person who prefers to stay at home and dislikes crowds, I react negatively when I’m forced to do so. When I saw these words, however, the potential upside of this imposed isolation became apparent.

We take many things for granted in life. We have become a generation that interacts through devices and have abandoned the art of personal communication.

This forced quarantine has made us give up even the minimal contact that we have with other humans. When I’m working at home, my social life is limited to interacting with my family and attending meetings and services at church. I play piano at the Saturday afternoon mass, something I look forward to each week. Yesterday, we were told that all masses at our church our cancelled until the week before Easter, although I’m not optimistic that we will resume attending church in time for Easter Sunday.

The bottom line of this is, while you are ‘stuck’ at home with your family and children, treasure this time. You have a unique opportunity to unplug a bit. You have a chance to help your fellow humans by staying away from them. As you do this, consider the things you will do differently once you are able to have contact again. Things like:

  • Enjoying a face-to-face conversation with your cell phone put aside
  • Committing random acts of kindness on a more frequent scale
  • Appreciating your employer and your job
  • Putting aside political arguments and appreciating people for who they are and not what they believe
  • Retain the bond you will develop with your family members while you spend your time together
  • Appreciate those that helped us get through this crisis (healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, delivery people, etc.)

This crisis may change the way we live life in this world. Let’s hope these changes are positive. We may learn to appreciate each other after a period of being deprived from interacting personally with each other.

Also, remember that the precautions we are taking are designed to protect the most vulnerable in our society, our seniors, our medically vulnerable and our children. This is an unusual and wonderful event in our youth-focused society.

I hope that you all stay well during this period of isolation. Take the time to appreciate what you have and what you are looking forward to once the crisis is over.

Your comments and discussion are welcome.