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Category: News & Current Events / Topics: Coping COVID-19 Crisis Current Events, News Disease Learning News Wellness

Life Lessons

by Greg Asimakoupoulos

Posted: May 3, 2020

What we should learn from global pandemic…

Editor's Note: Greg Asimakoupoulos is a contibutor to SeniorLifestyle, with the "Rhymes and Reasons" feature that originally appears on The Partial Observer website. This piece appeared as a special to the Daily Herald, which is published in suburban Chicago, including Naperville, where Greg once served as a pastor. He now resides in Washington state.

To invert and borrow from Dickens, "It is the worst of times. It is the best of times."

The coronavirus pandemic that continues to impact our lives has presented us with challenges. All the same, it has provided us with remarkable opportunities.

As I've reflected on the checklist of behaviors we've been given to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19, I realized such instructions relate to more than just this virus. Against the backdrop of this health crisis I've been reminded of timeless life lessons.

Remember to wash your hands

In addition to the hygienic benefits of literally scrubbing our digits for 20 seconds, there is symbolic value. Historically speaking, "washing your hands" of a given situation means putting something behind you.

Too often we hang on to regrets of the past we can't do anything about. We need to learn to forgive ourselves. Christianity celebrates the concept of grace. And grace allows us to follow Princess Elsa's lead and "let it go!"

Give each other space

Social distancing has become a new addition to our vocabulary. We've been told that maintaining a 6-foot distance can prevent unnecessary burials 6 feet under.

But giving each other adequate space has other benefits as well. It is important to give those with whom we interact the freedom to espouse and act on their own perspective. Insisting others see things "our way" crowds creativity and selfishly suffocates.

Stay at home

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has instructed everyone to stay home to stay healthy. And "sheltering in place" has largely accomplished that goal.

In the process, however, we have rediscovered the value of balance in our lives. If we're honest, I think we'd have to admit the "old normal" of daily life found us spending too much time at work and investing in pursuits that took us away from our families.

Having rebooted our home page, I'm hoping the "new normal" will find us recognizing the importance of staying home more often.

Wear a mask

Speaking of the "new normal," it appears that face coverings will be part of our daily wardrobe for the foreseeable future. My colorful fabric mask made by a friend allows me to express my individuality. But it also provides others with protection should I unknowingly transmit a virus that finds me asymptomatic.

But there are also times in life when it is most appropriate to wear masks as well. I'm thinking of those times when another's painful situation calls for us to hide our personal emotions. In such settings, we are not denying our own plight. Rather, masking our issues allows us to focus on the needs of someone else that are more critical at the moment.

Meet up creatively

Back when I was a kid, Zoom was a hot cereal. Not anymore. Those Brady Bunch screenshots are everywhere.

Gratefully, social-distancing does not mean being socially disconnected. As humans, we are created for community. As such, we can't help but find ways to interact. Even though we are "sheltering in place" alone, we take comfort that we are alone together.

More than that, we find ways to comfort one another by reaching out. In sickness and in health, we are social beings that cannot neglect the assembling of ourselves, albeit creatively.

Bottom line? We virtually cannot live without each other. And, gratefully, we are finding ways to connect virtually.

Companies are conducting virtual staff meetings. Churches are congregating remotely. My musician daughter is teaching flute lessons via Skype, and my youth pastor son-in-law is interacting with students via FaceTime.

Don't you love the video clips we see on the nightly news of drive-by birthday parties and balcony concerts in apartment complexes?

All this to say, when the pandemic has finally passed, I'm convinced the future will find us all present and accounted for, still washing our hands, giving each other space, staying at home, wearing masks and meeting up creatively.

Greg Asimakoupoulos (pronounced AWESOME-uh-COPE-uh-less) is an ordained minister, published author and a freelance news reporter with the Salem Radio Network.   Greg maintains a weekly column called Rhymes and Reasons on The Partial Observer,  which he graciously provides to SeniorLifestyle.

Greg's writings have now been assembled in book form. Find out more.

E-mail the author (moc.loa@veRemosewA*)

* For web-based email, you may need to copy and paste the address yourself.

Posted: May 3, 2020

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