Stillness and Gratitude

March 5, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tragic and brought about a tremendous amount of suffering and loss.  Globally over 2 million people have lost their lives to this virus and in the United States, we are closing in on 400,000.  It seems at times hard to remember what life was like before March, 2020.  With this widespread disease, there has been enormous change in both our organizations and in our personal lives.  While I could focus on what we have missed the most and what things we want to return to when the pandemic is over, I want to ponder what we might later reflect on and miss from our time of social distancing and isolation. 

“Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day”

— Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

I have heard stories of a person winning the mega lottery and soon afterwards mentioning that they miss parts of their life before becoming rich.  It seems that will positive change there can still be a sense of loss.  

As I sit and reflect, here are some of things that I have gained from the pandemic (and want to try and hold onto in some way).  

There has been an increase in family time and I am guessing that for those with teenagers, you are going to look back years from now and cherish the amount of time you had them at home on a Friday and Saturday night.  We have rediscovered board games.  We have also found how we can play a variety of fun games over Zoom or FaceTime.  My adult kids have grown closer via Zoom, not only with each other but with their grandparents and cousins.  The technology was there before but it seems the pandemic brought forth a desire to connect.  Many of us have picked up old hobbies that we had long stopped doing, and we have gained a sense of the value of recreation and downtime.  

I believe there will be many who will miss their dogs when they stop working from home (likewise many dogs who will miss their owners).

For many people, the pandemic has forced us to slow down and decrease our busyness (have you ever noticed how similar the word busyness is to the word, business?  – that could be a whole additional Friday Food For Thought.

I have gained a greater sense of gratitude.  I am learning to not take so many of life’s comforts for granted.  Gratitude helps us to focus on what we have rather than what we don’t.  Brain science is now demonstrating how expressing gratitude actually releases the chemical dopamine in our brains and makes us feel better and happier.  I am using a few pages at the front of my 2021 Planner to jot down notes of gratitude to remind me of the importance of this.

I want to close this by sharing one of my wife and I’s favorite songs that one of our friends sang at our wedding two years ago.

The world’s just spinning
A little too fast
If things don’t slow down soon we might not last.
The world’s not forgiving
Of everyone’s fears.
The days turn into months the months turn into years.
So just for a moment, let’s be still

Let’s Be Still by the Head and the Heart




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