I believe that every curse has a blessing, and the invitation is for me to find those blessings. Sometimes, those blessings might take a long time to find, and sometimes, they are right in front of me.


The other day, a man I used to work with called me. I had not spoken with him for months, and when I heard his voice, my response was pure joy. I still smile when I think of his kindness in calling and checking up on me.

The next day, a woman I worked with in Pennsylvania called and, again, my response was pure joy. We chatted for a long time—a luxury of staying home with no place to go—and I felt blessed by her thoughtfulness in calling.

Similarly, I called a man I had not spoken with in several years. I knew him through a former job; I also knew that his wife had died six months ago. During prayer one morning, he came to mind, and I decided to call him later that day.

I can barely imagine how difficult this time of isolation is for people who are used to living with someone. I imagine their grief is magnified by the loss of human contact, and this man had been married for fifty years.

Anyway, we chatted for a while, and I was glad I had called him. Later, he left a voice message thanking me for calling and saying that my call had brightened his day. That call had brightened my day, too. I still smile when I think of that chat, of my joy at hearing his voice and catching up on his life and hearing news of mutual friends.


I had thought of calling this man whose wife had died before this pandemic, but I did not want to intrude on his grief, but we are all grieving now, so my call did not feel so intrusive.

One of the blessings of this time of isolation is the time and space to follow up on impulses to get in touch. I often think of people during my morning prayer, but except for my friends in Ireland, the timing is not right for a call (I usually pray before 7:00 a.m.). I do sometimes write notes to people who come to mind during prayer, which is another way of reaching out, and I have appreciated the notes I have received these past weeks. I set them on an end table as reminders that people are thinking of me.

Every friend who calls is a blessing. Everyone who sends me cards or cartoons is a blessing (especially the cartoons about the pets who cannot wait for the isolation to end so they can return to their normal isolation).


Finding joy during a time of anxiety is a gift. Even small bits of joy—a moment of gratitude, a smile or laugh—can dispel fear for a while.

Where are you finding joy during this time of isolation?


6 thoughts on “Joy

  1. Georgia Kingsley

    Thank you for checking up on me yesterday. It was appreciated more than I expressed. My mom always chided my brother when he hadn’t contacted her in a bit that for all he knew, she “could be at the bottom of the basement stairs for days”. It became the family joke and now we use it amongst my siblings. About 5 yrs. ago I WAS at the bottom of the stairs but luckily broke only my wrist so I could get up. Living alone I try not to think of that circumstance often, but am grateful that Jackie and I check – in with each other once if not twice a day. She knows where a spare key is to the back door and I even gave her my son’s phone number in LA as well as my sister in law’s locally. Likewise, I asked her for her brother’s number.

    In the last two yrs. , since our 50th reunion, I’ve reconnected with two High School friends. One is married, the other single. We had seen each other a couple times last year, but we don’t live real close-one is in Waterford, the other in Oakland Twnship but when the mother of one of them died in Dec, the other one and I were the only classmates that went to the funeral Mass at St Lucy’s. Then that friend who is married, broke her kneecap so the other friend and I brought her lunch and spent 4 hours at her house in late January. We shared a lot of details of our adult lives. Now with the quarantine, we are in contact almost daily, usually just sharing a joke or gif ( often off color) to make us laugh. One night, the single one in Waterford wasn’t responding to our texts, which was unusual. As the evening went by, our anxiety elevated wondering if something bad had happened. I tried calling her about 930p and phone went right to voicemail so I left a message saying Sandy and I were very concerned. In the morning, Diane apologized and said she had just turned off her phone and watched a movie. She said she felt humbled that we were so concerned and guilty that she had caused it. So now we have a pact to check our phones each night to make sure there aren’t any missed texts or voicemails. Another joy that I’ve experienced in the last month, is my son calls me daily. Prior to these days of lockdown, we may have talked once a week with a few texts in between. Now he usually wants to FaceTime. At first, I think he was checking where I was, now he says he just wants to see me. Often I want to see him but will turn the phone away so he can’t see me without a stitch of makeup or in the same hoodie I had on the day before. I’ll say “ I look ugly today“ but his response does bring me much joy when he replies, “don’t say that as you’re never ugly to me.”

    So while I hate this lockdown as much as everyone else, being alone isn’t always lonely.

    Stay well and again thank you for the bike pump. One tire tube must have a hole so now that bike shops can re-open, my bike is in the back of my car ready to take it to Paul’s on Gratiot.


    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      Thanks, Georgia. When Jim was alive, he checked in on me every day, and after he died, I often had that lonely feeling that no one would know if I was at the bottom of the stairs. I don’t think that people who live with others can understand (or, perhaps even those who have never had an “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” experience). It is lovely that you have reconnected with old friends. I find that in this time of isolation, I am so happy to connect with people who have known me for a long time.

  2. 375writersbank

    It’s good to reconnect with people. I am finding this time of shelter in place a good reflection time to evaluate how we live with intention. It’s a chance to step back and take notice of the smaller more important things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      I agree that a gift of this time of isolation is the opportunity to reflect and evaluate how we are living–and how we can be intentional about our lives. thanks for reading/commenting.


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