Reflections, Observations and Questions – What I’ve Learned from COVID-19

Reflections, Observations and Questions - What I’ve Learned from COVID-19 |

The end of shelter-in-place mandates is drawing near. Soon, the restless natives will be released into the wild. I want to jump for joy but…

Is it time? Are we safe? Will things ever get back to “normal”? Do we even want things to get back to normal?

There’s a lot to consider.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing these last few weeks – considering the world’s issues, pondering over the colossal chaos caused by a microscopic virus, contemplating the historical significance of this period in time and examining the effects this pandemic has had on me personally.

It’s probably safe to say we’ve all been doing a little bit of soul searching of late. I don’t know how your reflection has been going but mine has led to several surprising (and some not so surprising) revelations. I like to call them my “Coronalations”.

Are you ready for this? 😉

Coronalation No. 1 – I touch my face entirely too much.


Coronalation No. 2 – I really do like the idea of social distancing.

Six feet away, folks. Don’t come any closer. Do not – I repeat – do NOT let my Smile deceive you. I will throw something at you! 😉 (Haha! Just kidding!… not really.)

Coronalation No. 3 – I was right!!

My child, who has always begged to be homeschooled, has, during his mandatory distance learning, done exactly what I thought he’d do if I had granted his request to be homeschooled – absolutely nothing.

He did pass all of his courses, though. Barely.

Coronalation No. 4 – No matter how much quarantine time you give me, I will never get the laundry done – or the sweeping, or the dusting, or the …

To be fair, though, I am an essential worker so I haven’t been confined to my home 24-7. But you’d think I could at least get something done on the weekends! (More blog posts, perhaps??)

Coronalation No. 5 – Even this introvert gets a little stir crazy sometimes.

We all need a change of scenery every now and then. But I’m a rule follower so I have stayed at home. In fact, I will continue to stay at home even though my governor has given the go ahead to mix and mingle (at a safe distance, of course – like that’s going to happen!). I choose to keep spreading SMILES – not germs.

Coronalation No. 6 – I take my hairstylist for granted.

I haven’t had a haircut since December. I actually missed an appointment in February because I overslept. And right about now, I’m pretty sure I could claim that cash reward Daddy Warbucks issued for finding Little Orphan Annie’s long lost Momma! Hands down. Ain’t nobody gonna question me when I say she’s mine! You think I’m kidding…

Coronalation No. 7 – Some of us humans are ridiculously stubborn.

It’s kinda entertaining watching grown folks stomp their feet, stick out their tongues and scream, “You’re not the boss of me!!”

But, c’mon. At some point, we have to remember that there are a lot of young folks watching how we handle ourselves during these times. What are we teaching them?

Now that’s something to think about…

Coronalation No. 8 – And most of us humans are easily swayed.

Yep. We will believe anything. ANYTHING.

Like the Bible says, “All we, like sheep…” Baaaaa!

Coronalation No. 9 – I’m not sure I like being “essential”.

First of all, I am not one of the heroes risking their lives everyday to care for those who are sick. I would never compare my work to anything that these amazing humans are doing for the world.

However, I am considered essential because 9 months ago, I made the move to the banking world. The thing is my workplace is in a virus hotspot and our doors have not closed – not even once. Our customers appreciate it but it truly has been a bit stressful to say the least.

And to be completely honest, I have re-evaluated my career move e-ver-y day!

Coronalation No. 10 – I’m not ready for the world to resume.

I’ve enjoyed slow-paced living – not having to worry about the kid getting to school in the morning, very little traffic on the streets, less sirens howling through the air.

My heart has been overwhelmed watching folks band together to feed hungry children who were left without daily meals when the schools closed their doors. I’ve loved seeing quarantined moms and seamstresses handcrafting heaps of protective masks for medical personnel, nursing home residents and anyone else who is in need.

I’ve basked in the stillness and the quiet. And even though the uncertainty of this situation has overwhelmed and overcome from time to time, my faith has grown stronger.

Still, all of this makes me wonder…

Why does it take a crisis to bring us together? Why does it take loss to help us appreciate all that we have? Why does it take a threat to our way of life to make us reach out to one another, support one another and show our gratitude for one another? Why does it take fear to drive us back to our Heavenly Father, back to the One who is always waiting with open arms, back to the Source of hope, salvation, strength and peace?


I think I’d like to keep the speed of this world a little slower, the noise just a bit quieter and the distractions a great deal smaller. Maybe then, we’d have time for each other. Maybe then, we’d be a little more forgiving. Maybe then, we’d remember all of the many blessings God has given us. Maybe then, we’d find a little more peace.




A Year of Smiles – Day 363

Adobe Spark (72)

Reason to SMILE #363: LOOKING BACK

It’s that time of year, again – time to look back on the year 2017, time to reflect on prominent world events and political movements, highlights of the entertainment industry, breakthroughs in technology and medicine, clothing fads and toy crazes. If you turn on the television or open your favorite news site or blog, I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of “Year in Review” shows and articles, some focusing on the good, some on the bad and some on the downright ugly. We enjoy these retrospectives. They allow us to join together in applauding achievements, celebrating victories, crying over losses and laughing at goofball mistakes.

Yes, mistakes. We can’t look back without remembering our mistakes. But it’s one thing to reflect on the mistakes of a nation, a world leader or a celebrity. It’s quite another when the spotlight of reflection lands on our own missteps and failures.

Adobe Spark (71)

There may be someone out there saying, “Hold up. The past is the past. I can’t change my mistakes. All I can do is move on from them. So shouldn’t we simply leave the past in the past?”

Sure. Sometimes.

But other times, we need to take a good, long look at the past (good or bad) in order to build a better future.

With that in mind, here are a few questions you may want to consider as you look back on the past twelve months:

  1. Were there any new relationships in my life this year? Did any of my existing relationships end? What was my role in the demise?
  2. Where did I excel at work this year? Where did I fall short?
  3. What decisions did I make that were beneficial to me emotionally, physically, spiritually? What led to those decisions?
  4. Which of my decisions were the most detrimental? How did my decision-making process differ in these instances from the times I made good decisions?
  5. When did I experience the most joy this year? Where was I? Who was I with?
  6. When did I experience the most sadness? Where was I? Who was I with?
  7. Did I grow in my faith this past year? Am I closer to God now than I was a year ago? Am I further away?
  8. What good habits did I establish? What bad habits?
  9. Did I reach any goals this year? Did I have any goals? Did I give up on any goals?
  10. Did I make a difference in anyone’s life for the better? Did I share my faith? How did that make me feel?

The challenge of looking back is learning from the past and then using our retrospection to create resolutions of change or of maintaining the good in the year ahead. (I’ll explore the SMILES of resolutions tomorrow.) Yes, looking back can be painful. It can remind us of our shortcomings and weaknesses. It can bring sadness and regret. But looking back can also be encouraging for it reminds us of all the SMILES that fill our lives – the friends, the family, the experiences, the memories that will strengthen us for what lies ahead in 2018.


Do They See Jesus in Me?

I saw you the other day standing alone under a bridge.  You were watching the cars zoom past you while you were having a conversation with yourself.  No one waved to you.  No one stopped to see if you were okay – no one, including me.

I watched you at the street corner as I sat at a traffic light.  You were a new face at this busy intersection.  The sign you were holding read, “Hungry disabled veteran.”  I had three boxes full of leftovers from my birthday dinner.  I did not offer anything.

I passed you in the school parking lot yesterday morning.  Our children played together at a local play area last week, yet you walked right past me as if you did not recognize me.  You did not say, “Hello.”  You did not even acknowledge my presence.  But, I did not speak to you, either.

You were struggling with your baby and all her baby things.  As you were leaving the restaurant, I heard something hit the ground.  I turned to see a baby bottle lying beside my seat.  The gentleman at the next table offered help while I continued my lunch conversation.

I wonder how many times I have passed you by without a glance, without a thought.  How many times have you crossed my path without my recognition?  How many times have I accused you of self-centeredness when I was the one who neglected to reach out to you?  Can I count the times?  Can you?

Have I become so selfish that I no longer recognize your face?  Am I so blind that I no longer see your need and so deaf that I no longer hear your cries?  Yes!  I am engrossed in my own desires, my own life and my own world to such a degree that I see nothing but what is mine.  And still I wonder where you are when I am in need.  Surely, you are thoughtful enough to remember me!

I was not intended to live life this way; I was not meant to close my eyes to the world around me, to live in seclusion and to seek my own satisfaction no matter the cost to others.  I was created to share, to fellowship, to touch, to help, to heal, to love.  Still, when I saw you hungry and thirsty, I did not feed you.  When I saw you homeless and shivering, I did not shelter you.  When I saw you sick and in prison, I did not help you.  Very little effort was required – a smile, a wave, a hug, a word – but I could not be bothered.  I failed you and I failed the One who sent me to you.

I saw you standing along the roadside.  You were having a conversation but this time, you were not alone.  A man was holding your hands in his as he said a prayer for you….

That should have been me.