Our world has been plunged into an extremely sobering time. Globally people are sick, and many are dying from a sinister virus. In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 countries around the world have adopted sweeping measures, including border shutdowns and travel restrictions. Here in the U.S., we are becoming reluctantly (yet necessarily) familiar with directives such as “shelter in place” and “social isolation.” And yet, despite the reality and horror of this coronavirus, we must find a way to cultivate hope and embrace habits that will move us towards becoming stronger and better people on the other side of this pandemic.
It was Alexander Graham Bell who said, “When one door closes, another opens.” Indeed, with company shutdowns, jobs losses mounting, and more—many doors have been closed. In fact, it is as if the world has temporarily closed. The question is, though, what are the open doors? Bell’s quote goes on to say, “…we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Let’s consider some open doors that, no doubt, some of you have been walking through:
These days, between work, school and other activities, quality family time can be very limited. Our current situation provides a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our families in a more meaningful way. You could set times for everyone to put aside all screens and devices and spend time together – such as working in the garden, taking a walk, doing yard work or some other activity away from the distractions of media.
Many people today have become accustomed to artificial environments. The majority of time is spent in front of some sort of screen, usually indoors for most of the day. Being outside in nature provides many physical and mental benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular time in nature lowers stress, normalizes blood pressure, and can possibly assist in the fight against cancer and diabetes by lowering inflammation in the body. You will also get the benefit of fresh air and sunlight, which kills viruses, bacteria and strengthens your immune system.
This is both physically and mentally beneficial. Exercise strengthens the immune system, which is vital for maintaining health and fighting illness. It aids in relieving stress and has been called the most powerful antidepressant know to man. It has also been helpful with regulating blood sugar and blood pressure.
Many people today have been lulled into being passive consumers who occupy much of their down time with some sort of entertainment. During this global down time try to resist the temptation to binge on Netflix or Youtube. Stay informed, but avoid a news overdose. You could read a book instead—such as a biography, history or something instructive. Pick up that musical instrument you used to play. Revisit that business idea you might have had at one time. Spend more time nurturing your spiritual life, or do something that inspires you.
Reach Out to Others
Often times it takes a tragedy, some type of disaster for people to show a sense of community. Although social distance is the order of the day, there are ways to stay connected. Show concern for older individuals (and others who may be feeling isolated) by calling them. Send encouraging messages or emails to people you know. If you are a member of a church, call other church members and pray with them.
I once read that we must learn to master our circumstances, rather than allowing them to shape us. Though we find ourselves in trying circumstances these days, are you willing to focus on the opportunities? Are you willing to focus on the open doors?
Photo by: Edwin Hooper