Many people have responded to this crisis in destructive ways—theft, aggression, addiction, abuse, greed, despair, and suicide. But positivity is also on the rise. Here are ten great ways people are filling their extra, or at least redefined, time at home:
People are digging in— getting rid of stuff, finishing projects they haven’t had time to work on, or starting new ones. My yard has been mine on days we have good weather. My husband built a wonderful greenhouse for our tomatoes. And we plan to spread bark dust, aerate the lawn, and get rid of the moss—things we’ve wanted to do, but just haven’t yet.
Quilters are covering beds and laps of friends, family, and anyone else who needs a warm material hug. Seamstresses are making masks by the dozen. Yarn addicts are knitting and crocheting with artistic fury. Plus cards, jewelry, paintings, and more. The baby blanket I started months ago might actually get finished soon.
Reading books aloud, unlimited snuggling, kids at home in their jammies, and makeup-free days feel a little like a vacation. Photos and recipes for comfort foods abound. Pizza, popcorn, and family movie nights are a regular feature. Jokes about living in our sweatpants are coupled with advice to occasionally try on your jeans for a reality check. My husband and I have found holding each other close and thanking God for all that is good, is the best comfort we know when fear shakes us.
With most schools closed for the rest of the year, families are learning the joys and trials of homeschooling. Parents strain to remember Math and English so they can help their kids with homework, while others are using this time to learn new things. Or, tackle stacks of long-neglected reading. I’ve enjoyed three memoirs, a compilation of five historical novels, and a biography of Winston Churchill in the last few weeks.
For those who normally go to the gym, this has been a challenge. Hiking in remote places, walking the neighborhood, and family workout sessions are now commonplace. I’ve walked almost every day for fresh air and exercise, rain or shine, and have finally started to shed a few unwanted pounds.
COVID-19 is not a laughing matter, but funny stories about stay-at-home life keep us from despair. A good sense of humor gives us the strength to carry on. Like the video, I saw today, of a little girl hosting a tea party for her big brothers. What they didn’t know is she got the water in their teacups from the toilet. I love the sweet pictures and silly videos our daughters send of our grandchildren. I can’t hold them and cover them with kisses as I want, but we’re staying in touch, and laughing together.
- Rest and Healing
I’ve heard many say their stress level has gone down because they’re not running from one commitment to another every day of the week, and it’s improved their health. I have friends finally getting enough downtime to heal from buried emotional trauma. Those taking advantage of this time are listening to solid biblical teaching, reading, and seeking counsel from wise mentors. I’ve enjoyed having fewer obligations and time to focus on prayer.
This is definitely a good time to ask the deep questions of life and discover new truths from God’s Word; let go of past hurts and break habits holding us hostage. It’s time to look deeply into the eyes of our loved ones and communicate from the heart. And listen to their answers. Having so much time at home together can make anyone a little feisty, but as my husband and I have found, it can also be a time to cherish each other like never before.
- Reaching Out
I’m inspired by the number of people who are intentionally ministering—calls and messages of encouragement, checking in to see how others are faring—making themselves available to listen when people need to talk. Inspirational videos, small groups online, and drive-in church services keep the Body of Christ connected. Random gifts appear on doorsteps. People are going out of their way to let others know they care. The flock of plastic flamingoes our teens used for a fundraiser is now carrying messages of love and pink happiness to members of our congregation.
- Praying and Grieving
Above all, believers everywhere are praying, and grieving with those who grieve. This pandemic has taken so much. Our leaders need prayer. Our front line workers need prayer. Those fighting this disease without the comfort of their loved ones need prayer. We lift our hearts to you, Lord, and ask you to heal, strengthen, provide, grant wisdom, and use this pandemic to draw people into your loving embrace.
As always, God calls us to balance. All these things are good, but too much comfort, exercise, grieving, or rest will make us fat, exhausted, depressed, and lazy. So the most important thing we can do to make these Corona Days count is ask God to guide our steps, every moment of every day, and He will get us through.
Beth Vice is a wife, author, speaker, mom, mother-in-law, grandma, and Jesus seeker. She loves taking care of her husband Kelly and the home they share on the Oregon coast. She teaches their Sunday morning small group and leads critique workshops at Oregon Christian Writers conferences, where she serves as the In-Person Critique Group Coordinator. Beth has six books currently available and is working on the next two—a divorce recovery book for women and a Bible study on Revelation. Beth has a heart for women; she has found new delight in leading retreats at she and Kelly’s vacation rental at Black Butte Ranch, and wherever else God might lead her. She blogs at Epiphany: http://www.bethvice.com/. Beth loves getting outside for hikes and gardening, but prefers snuggling inside with a good book or coffee with a friend, in nasty weather.