Tag Archives: isolation

Silver linings

Someone recently asked me: What silver linings have you seen during the pandemic?

As a person who believes every curse has a blessing, I have been actively looking for silver linings since this time of social distancing began more than three months ago. Some of the blessings I have seen are:

I have had more time for hobbies, and I have read more books, completed more jigsaw puzzles and knitted more than I usually would. I have already knitted two gifts for next Christmas, which is not at all like me—I am usually knitting frantically the week before Christmas (or giving a certificate for a promised knitted article to arrive sometime after Christmas).

I have exercised more than I usually would. I am a morning exerciser and have still be going for my morning walk, but I think that staying in the house all day can make me feel cooped up, so I often go for an evening walk or bike ride.

Ten years ago, I went on a two-week language immersion course in Krakow, Poland. I had worked through the first part of Rosetta Stone Polish before that trip, and I have taken a couple of Polish classes since, but this time of isolation has given me the space to focus on my Polish. Almost every day, I spend time on Rosetta Stone, and most evenings, I practice what I have learned with my mother, whose first language was Polish. She says I am “coming along.”

My garden has gotten more attention this year because I usually go away in spring—on retreat or a vacation—but this year I have been home. I have also enjoyed my garden more this year because I spend lots of time in my sunroom, looking out over the yard. My sunroom doubles as my home office, another gift of this time. I miss seeing my co-workers in person, but even after we return to work, I may hold the occasional staff meeting in my home office/sunroom.

The other day I was reflecting on how these months at home have given me the space to explore new things. I find I am more open to consider different ways of doing everyday things. One of those is my charitable giving. I receive a fair number of requests from nonprofit organizations, and usually I toss the ones I don’t already support. But over the past few months, I have had the time to look at what comes in the mail. As a result, I have sent contributions to two organizations for the first time, even though they have probably been asking me for years.

These past few months felt like a long pause, and I have taken this opportunity to step back and look at my life. Having this extended period to review and reflect has been a gift, and I hope the lessons stay with me when we re-engage.

How about you? What silver linings have you seen during the pandemic?


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?


Live large

What did we talk about before the pandemic took up residence

and reshaped our lives?

What mattered before fear settled in and narrowed our vision?

Breathe in and expand.

Remember how large life once was and will be again.

Remember the good things.

Remember those we love,

now out of sight.

In the darkness of isolation, I am alone.

Breathe in and expand.

Stand outside and drink in the sunshine.

Watch every tree bud this spring,

celebrate every flower.

Sing, laugh, dance.

Life is still good.

Optimism is possible.

Hope is within reach.

Crowd out the darkness with light.

Getting ready

The afternoon sun warms the air.

Forsythia and daffodils are blooming.

My neighbor works in his yard,

preparing the ground for his garden.

I cut back dead leaves in my flower beds and

pitchfork my compost pile.

It is too early to plant, but we can get ready.

This time of isolation is a pause.

Seeing no one, going nowhere, and yet

the invitation lies open before me—

cut back what is dead, clear out debris, turn the soil over.

Get ready to start again.

Summer will come.