As first appeared on FORBES.
The world stage and the airwaves are dominated by messages of both panic and new information daily—changing our lives to a new normal. Self-isolation, separation, masks, and gloves are part of that new normal, along with empty shelves in the grocery store and elusive toilet paper.
No one wants to go through catastrophic circumstances or suffer pain. But in the midst of all the pandemonium of this pandemic, there are lessons to be learned . . . and there is hope. No one wants to learn lessons the hard way. And certainly, a pandemic is not how we would have chosen to learn such lessons, but the wise of heart will be aware and listen and learn in the midst of it all. Below are just a few observations I have gleaned in recent days, at such a time as this.
Be Grateful—Don’t take things or people or blessings for granted.
We rise and enter our daily routines and tedium without much reflection, until the hamster wheel we are running on is thwarted by a world crisis. The Coronavirus has caused us all to pause. And while the complaints are rising, there has also been a surprise in the pause. We discover that the hustle and bustle kept us busy, alright, and distracted from the blessings all around us—things and people and blessings we took for granted. Suddenly we have time to spend with loved ones, time to think. For most of us, we will not experience true poverty as a result of this. What we will experience is an “adjustment to our prosperity”. So, as the old hymn says, “Count your Blessings…name them one by one” (or as a mentor of mine used to sing it “Count your Blessings…name them ton by ton!”.
Cherish the precious people God has given to you.
Don’t let these moments pass you by; numbing yourself with electronics or movies ad nauseam. Be intentional in this space to notice those around you and to love them. Each one is a gift, and each thing or possession we are surrounded by is a trust from God that we will steward and use what He has given us to bless others.
As a parent or grandparent, this crisis is an opportunity for us to lead our families well; to show them courageous leadership. So, let’s be “Ambassadors of Hope, Courage & Faith” within our families, the businesses we lead, and throughout our spheres of influence. In this time of “Physical Distancing”, lets take the opportunity to invest time with our Children & Grandchildren (virtually). Facetime/video conferencing, texting; praying for them…and WITH them! This crisis presents a unique opportunity for us to “Love Well and Lead Well” as part of our Family Legacy. Carpe Diem! Let’s seize the day or, as Ephesians 5:16 says; let’s “make the most of every opportunity!” For us, this is a kairos moment! As S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-a said, “We change the world and ourselves by our response to unexpected opportunities.”
Major on the Majors, Minor on the Minors.
Chances are, all the things that bugged us before don’t bug us as much now, when the reality of death is moved to the forefront of our minds. Maybe COVID-19 is a moment of grace for us to consider the rat race we were running, that left us drained and worried about things that just don’t matter.
When we get our eyes off ourselves (and our own “first world” problems) and turn our eyes and our hearts toward helping those less fortunate than ourselves; we, the giver, experience a blessing. It sometimes blesses us even more than the recipient. As Jesus said, “It is more Blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b, ESV).
Kindness can go by the wayside when panic sets in. In this self-focused time of hustling and hoarding, pushing and shoving, we have a great opportunity to not be that kind of person! What if, instead, we do random acts of kindness; “Coronavirus Kindness”? The kind word, the thoughtful action, lending a helping hand. Let’s amaze the world around us by being Ambassadors of Coronavirus Kindness! Let’s help kindness go viral even more than the virus!
Let’s make the most of this current opportunity to love and lead our families (and businesses) well through this Coronavirus crisis!