There are many devastating results from the corona virus. The increasing number of deaths, as well as the heart-breaking stories of victims who die alone with no family near them. The rituals following death can’t be carried out, so families and friends can’t gather to remember and honor the dead, and to offer solace to each other.
Women give birth without the support of loved ones, friends who took pleasure in meeting friends for coffee or meal can no longer do so, nor can children finish this school year except online, and not all can do that. And millions of people are out of work, because their employers have closed down their businesses.
In a word, we seem to have lost control of our daily lives. But conversations and emails with family and friends offer the many ways we can get that control back. From what I hear and read, houses are having the most comprehensive cleanings they’ve had. People are getting rid of things they’ve hung on to for years, setting them aside to give to a charitable organization when this is over.
With children not in school, and parents not going to work, many families are using this time to become closer. They play board games. Parents read aloud to children. They cook meals that have always taken too much time and effort before.
Bill Gates’ pledge of 50 million dollars for relief, and Tyler Perry buying groceries for every customer at chosen Winn-Dixies in Louisiana and Georgia are grand examples of generosity, but personal generosity, like doing errands for people who are most vulnerable, or calling a sick friend and telling him/her something that will bring a laugh, helps not only the receiver, but the giver, who chose to do these acts in defiance of the many strictures the virus imposes.
Now is the perfect time to read the books one has always wanted to. The libraries are closed, but sites like AbeBooks have used books that cost little, and many have free shipping. Finish the handiwork you started months, even years, ago. Do wood working, play a musical instrument, start window garden. Hang bird feeders, including ones for humming birds. I have Cardinals and humming birds, and a variety of small birds like sparrows, wrens and Black-headed Chickadees, and also a Painted Bunting, whose beauty makes me catch my breath.
Now is the time to find refuge in your own home, your own garden. It is also the time to strengthen or repair relationships, because though the virus has changed our lives, it can’t make them meaningless unless we let it.