Coronavirus Course Correction

You’ve probably seen that nefarious thorny blob, the microscopic representation of the coronavirus. While these days anyone mentioning “coronavirus” is likely talking about COVID-19 and the global pandemic we’re currently going through (even typing that is weird – is this real life?), the name coronavirus is actually more of classification describing a range of respiratory diseases. According to the CDC, “Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface”. So basically it’s a crown of thorns. We may be living in unprecedented times, but the world does have some experience with a crown of thorns. In fact, we celebrate that particular outcome every Easter morning. Spoiler alert: it ended well, and beauty came out of the chaos, changing the world forever.

Easter is a celebration of life and of looking ahead to the Bigger story.  COVID-19 stole most of our traditions (are you having a large family gathering, attending a church service, or coloring eggs with friends? Yeah, me neither), our normal routines, and forcibly cleared our schedules. 

You know what’s strange though? Since this all started, I find myself staring at my children more (because, you know, I’m at home with them 24-7) and just marveling at how fast they’re growing. Our lives are so much slower and it is a hundred times more renewing than I ever thought possible. Anyone else have an After Quarantine bucket list? I do. And it’s not “Go to Target” and “have more playdates” – or even “resume preK soccer” and “have a Girls Night”. It’s more like “Take a trip to Niagara Falls” (we’ve been meaning to) and “Go visit grandparents in the Rockies” (we keep rescheduling). Kids keep me physically busy, but staying home all the time has given me more time to think and course-correct my priorities. 

Life is beautiful. And I’ve been missing it.

Dr. Peter Gray, psychologist and education researcher, recently co-published an interesting article in the New York Post, “Childhood needed a course correction. In a million trillion years, this is not how we would have wanted it to happen. Nonetheless, here goes.”

These last few weeks have felt like stepping back into my childhood. Sidewalk chalk, playing in the backyard, less busyness, less social media, less phone calls, less business…. Bird feeders from recycled milkjugs, and neighborhood walks dragging toy trucks on leashes (thank you, patient neighbors, for putting up with our clattering down the sidewalk). We’ve picked more dandelions, sung more renditions of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, and colored more construction paper rockets than ever. This was the summers of our childhood. For me, this was the 90s. Children of the 2020’s, who will they be? What will they remember and say was iconic of their time? Of this quarantine? 

To me as much as anybody: Don’t be a Pinterest parent – be the parent you want them to remember. Even if that means just snuggling in the middle of the day to watch a show together, or build The Biggest Train Track in the WHOLE WORLD down the just-cleaned hallway. Parent intentionally, even if it isn’t “by the book”. You know your children better than anyone – and if you don’t, now is your chance. 

The quarantine forced us to let go of our regular lives – why not settle into this time to be still? You can Marie Kondo if that’s what you enjoy, but it’s ok if you don’t come out of quarantine with a cleaned out garage and an Insta feed full of your child’s successfully executed crafts courtesy of your meticulous planning. 

My heart breaks with daily tragedies coming from our hospitals, and I can only thank God my family has been thus far spared. In this lockdown, I can either let the stress and sadness overwhelm me or I can remember another crown of thorns and His victory over death that means our story doesn’t end here. Life is broken, imperfect, and messy. We are too. 

Coronavirus is a wildfire, but in its charred wake, I am finding tiny, beautiful, miraculous new growth and I am so thankful. 

Our lives are so much slower and it is a hundred times more renewing than I ever thought possible.

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