Benefits of a deadly virus, a global pandemic that has terrorized us all? Coronavirus has been an absolute disaster for the world! No one has escaped the misery and pain this ubiquitous tragedy has wrought through every inch of the known universe.
And yet, in every moment of woe, there are countless positive expected outcomes and benefits. Discount stores tend to do very well during difficult financial times. Everyone could have predicted how well streaming services would fare with everyone locked indoors. And there’s a certain pleasure to the relative quiet many of us are experiencing. Social pressure is out the window. We can all enjoy the calm of our own homes without anyone telling us there is something wrong with us.
However, some of the positive outcomes and benefits I couldn’t have imagined. I’d like to talk about five:
Benefit #1: Yay, the Trash!
Sunlight and fresh air are so terribly important and beneficial. But it’s very easy to get used to them and not appreciate them at all. That is, of course, until you’re denied any access whatsoever.
I have never felt myself so excited to have an excuse to go outside. Walk my dog. Throw out the trash. Even bring out the recycling! As long as I have an opportunity to feel a bit of the outside world, and an undeniably permitted reason to venture to the great outdoors, I am quite happy.
I hope that when this is all behind us, I’ll still appreciate how great it is to get outside. And I’ll run to the dumpster with the same alacrity as I currently do.
Benefit #2: Meme Mania!
If you’ve spent even a couple of minutes on social media recently, you’ll see a whole new world of humor. Memes about the virus. Quips about quarantine. A whole new world of humor filling up the internet.
I recently saw someone rip into someone else on Facebook for posting one of the comical memes. His contention was that this is no time for humor. The time would be better spent educating his children about infectious diseases and cleanliness. He maintained that the best way to cope with the current situation is through knowledge and understanding of what we’re dealing with.
I (against my better judgment, as usual) argued. I said that humor is and has always been a fantastic way to cope with crisis. And it’s so true. We’re trapped in our homes every single day. Stepping out of our domains contains a true threat of death for us and anyone we may come into contact with. And we are more than well aware of all of this. We need to laugh a little at the insanity around us, or it will be unbearable.
And thank goodness, the laughter has been abundant. Keep up the great work!
Benefit #3: Reconnecting
So we’re not hitting the bars. Our social lives have kind of taken a break. We very likely haven’t met any new people in some time now.
And the hours pass with all of us trying to figure out new and interesting ways to pass the time. One of the popular ways I’ve seen folk going about this is by reconnecting with old friends.
I hate phone calls. Like, really hate phone calls. With a passion. I would take just about any form of communication over a phone call, and I have to psyche myself up before pushing the call button. Every single time.
And even I picked up the phone and called an old friend. He’s one of the few people I know in this world who’s off the grid (ie, not on Facebook). I was worried about him and his family, and I knew if I wanted to find out how he was doing, I’d actually have to conquer the silly phone.
And I was so glad I did.
I’ve heard so many stories of people reconnecting with old friends. And it’s a beautiful thing. We’re forced, if you will, to reconnect with the many people we’ve been in touch with throughout our lives.
And it’s such a fantastic benefit to an otherwise crappy circumstance!
Benefit #4: All in the Family
The other day was Shabbat, and I looked outside and saw the soccer field I see all the time, but looking quite different from how it normally looks.
Instead of dozens of loud, screaming teenagers playing soccer together, I saw a family of five having the time of their lives.
We had a similar family basketball game the other day, and we had a blast. I even got it in a few times, which is not the norm for me.
Generally, kids run off and play with their own. Certainly teenagers don’t want to hang around with the old folk (except for my weird son). And if given the option, kids of all ages would like to run away from the house and party like rockstars with kids their own age.
But that’s not an option these days. Families are forced to hang out together. And if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right.
So here we are, with another beautiful unexpected benefit. Families are together again. And we’re enjoying the hell out of a brand new reality.
Benefit #5: Only in the Darkness…
This one is bittersweet. Why? Because the nastiness of some highlights the impressive kindness of the others.
We have seen people ignoring the rules, at risk to themselves and others. And we have seen governments flop and flounder in their attempts to solve the crisis.
One of the downsides to my job at the moment is it has made me see how the base nature of the masses has not shifted at all. So many are trying to use the situation to make a profit off the suffering of others. And it’s almost shocking to see how scammers keep on scamming, en masse, despite all the misery going on around them. They haven’t slowed in the slightest.
Yet kindness abounds. The internet has been flooded with people offering free and inexpensive resources and entertainment, so people can maintain some semblance of normalcy while the world collapses in every direction. And so we can enjoy our isolation as much as possible.
We are shopping for those in quarantine. Comforting the many around us who are suffering tragic losses. Reaching out to those who are sad or lonely. The list is endless.
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” One of my favorite quotes. We are truly living in the darkest of times. And we can use this time to do everything from cause hurt to absolutely nothing at all. Or we can use this time for great introspection, and for becoming better versions of ourselves.
May our stars shine bright.
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