Among the many e-mails, articles, blog posts, and other attempts at inspiration I have received during the COVID-19 crisis, two have stood out.
One came to me from the Lodge at Woodloch, an outrageously wonderful, high-end spa resort where I’ve had the good fortune of being the guest speaker a handful of times. In a note they sent out when they closed to wait out the crisis, they wrote of ways they hoped we might all have a greater appreciation for many things we used to take for granted. One sentence which struck me was this one, about some experiences most people do not usually enjoy:
When life returns to normal, may we relish the rush of the morning commute, enjoy the energy at school drop-off, and absorb the chaos of rushing from here to there.
The other was passed along to me by a friend. By googling some of the content, I was able to trace it back to its author, Dr. Gurpreet K. Gill, an internist in Dallas. Her “What if” begins by posing an interesting question.
What if… the virus is here to help us?
To reset. To remember. What is truly important.
You can find the full text of “What if” in full on her web site. I don’t know that her perspective can help those who have lost a family member to the virus (or their job, or their business), but for the majority of us who have not suffered a personal tragedy during this time, it can add perspective.
One of my work colleagues posted a super note about perspective, which I am excerpting here:
Like all of you, I’m working hard to ward off the cabin fever in our new remote work environment. We’re all dealing with same common challenges – kids, dogs, the backdrop of bad news on the TV – and everything else that goes with this unprecedented world crisis. The other night I got a good reminder from my wife, during a moment of frustration. She asked me to fast forward 4-5 years when our 3 teenagers will be out of the house. We will ask ourselves what we did to capitalize on this time together as a family – time we never saw coming and may never get again… It was a dose of reality I sure needed. I know the stress levels are high, the frustrations are many, and the news reel is unforgiving. But, we will come out of this. I hope everyone can push back from the laptops, take a walk (with appropriate distancing), and find some time to find that silver lining. It’s there. Look hard.
I shared that note with some additional colleagues. One wrote back to me, “Amen. While my teenagers may not enjoy the time as much as we do, I am very thankful to have them at home and their undivided attention.”
My cousin sent me a note with a similar sentiment, “On the flip side, this is definitely a wonderful bonding time with family.”
One of my daughters told me she was talking with a friend. They both have been “cleaning (their apartments) like maniacs.” She sees better cleaning habits as a positive that will come out of this and told me she is also loving her at-home workouts.
Last, the daughter of a friend of mine had surgery in February to pre-empt cancer. From that surgery, they learned if she had waited a little longer, it would have been chemo, radiation, etc. And maybe worse, because a little longer would have ended up being months longer because elective surgeries are being postponed. That is a family focusing on gratitude.
How are you practicing gratitude during this extremely difficult time? Please join the conversation with your comments…