It’s hard to find the silver lining in a pandemic. The news about the scope and suffering of the disease is cumulative - a kind of psychological “piling on.” The economy, so comforting two weeks ago, has taken huge blows, almost daily. “Social distancing” adds to the sense of loneliness that so many of us carry around inside. And most if not all of our distractions have been stolen. What’s to celebrate in such a time as this?
The truth is that there are opportunities for joy, well-being, and peace hidden in this crisis.
There is a solitude that comes with being sequestered, something our frantic, driven world simply cannot provide. These days there is time and margin to think, reflect, pray, make amends, change habits, and slow down.
The silence of these days exposes just how loud and ruthlessly distracted we have become. The days of being home-bound buy us precious time to face how sandblasted we have become with words, ads, and people shouting at us to do something, buy something, be something different.
And there is serenity to be found out-of-doors. Without violating the admonitions of keeping our distance from others, we can walk freely, ride horses, get on a mountain bike, snowshoe, cross country ski. Just breathing in such clean air as we have here is a gift. Looking closely at the intricacies of nature, identifying western birds, watching the weather, listening to the creeks playing music with run-off - all of these are ours, and yet so many of us never get out to enjoy them. And this is to say nothing of the benefits to our whole body health, the strengthening of our immune system, and the defeat of our stay-inside boredom.
Yes, this pandemic is tragic, and it is costing many of us a high price. But it also can be the stage on which solitude, silence and serenity, to name just a few, can redeem those parts of our life that have grown fallow, even withered. And there is where the greatest gift of all will emerge: the gift of love for your life, for the created order, for your neighbor, and for a power greater than your understanding.
That’s my opinion, not necessarily of that of Trails For All nor of anyone else. But maybe it will give you some hope that there is more going on than a virus.
President, Trails For All