Guest Column: What have we learned?

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COVID-19 has provided us much new vocabulary including, recently, the phrase “coming out the other side.” Who knows when that will be or how we will know when we arrive? If we do not learn from our problems, we have missed critical opportunities to grow and become stronger. Looking ahead, what have we learned so far? Despite all the deaths, financial strain, loneliness, job losses, et al there is a certain silver lining to be gained from our struggles.
I do not think we are done with the things to be learned from these tough days, but here is my short list of lessons learned so far in no particular order:
Gardening skills–back to the Victory Gardens started in WWII, fresh veggies from our own backyards.
The importance of our faith and the comfort it brings us in stressful, uncertain times.
Cooking and baking skills, especially bread. Ha-ha, we can bake.
Volunteers of all sorts who make masks, bring food to shut-ins, work at food banks, and so much more.
Gains in online abilities–school, work, church – everything available in the cyber world.
Appreciating friends and family even more–we cannot hug you or visit, thus we love you even more.
Connecting with friends anywhere thanks to Zoom, Face Time, etc. we can even see each other as we chat from afar.
More walking, exercising at home, protecting our health in simple ways.
Rejoicing in the basics of life–working from home in jammies, no makeup, eating what is already on our kitchen shelves, focusing on core survival skills.
Understanding the importance of research and development and our tremendous scientific community.
Respect for teachers, truck drivers, delivery folks, and the entire workforce that sustain our daily services.
Carry out dining services, especially when we desperately need a break from home cooking.
Being more self-reliant, acquiring or re-activating a “do it yourself” mentality.
Recreating in our nearby community and appreciating the beautiful environment around us.
Gaining appreciation for the dedication and hard work of our health care workers and front-line workers.
Increase in our adaptability–now what? We got this!
New entertainment resources we never knew existed–binge watching, old movies, new series.
Food banks delivering food in new and safe ways, funded by many, and supported by armies of volunteers.
Cleaner homes and sanitation practices.
City, county, and state governments being at the ready for a multitude of potential and actual situations.
Newspapers, reporters–media of all kinds keeping us updated as things change at warp speed.
It took truly little time for me to think of these blessings and surely there are many more. Attempting to balance the feelings of desperation with gratefulness is very tough. Our world still faces many overwhelming concerns, but I hope we can hold tight until better days come. Let us be proud of what we have accomplished and learn how to incorporate these challenging times into a better future.

By KAYE SULLIVAN
Special to the Herald Times

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