It's Okay To Find Silver Linings During This Scary Time

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woman sitting in windowframe looking out
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The sun is shining and it’s going to be in the 50s today — something that’s rare here in Maine on a March day.

This morning, I woke up earlier than I have since the kids’ school was closed weeks ago due to COVID-19. The light was streaming into my window at 6:30 a.m., and for the first time since this pandemic, I didn’t feel like hiding under the covers.

I feel my energy gradually meeting me again as I get used to our new normal. I get up, go for a run while listening to a podcast, and think about how thankful I am that I am able to do this. Every morning, hearing another person’s voice brings me comfort in a way it never used to when there was a lot more commotion in my life.

I listen to the radio show I used to listen to with the kids on the way to school as I make breakfast. It brings me normalcy. And while I start my day’s work, I am so grateful to have a job I can still do: it’s my outlet, my saving grace, some insurance that I’m going to get through the day and feel productive which always lifts my spirits.

After I’m done, I help my three kids with their school work later in the afternoon. The internet simply can’t handle it if we’re all attending to our business at the same time, and it guarantees I will have focused time with them.

This newness, this isolation, it doesn’t feel as hard as it first did — it’s a silver lining.

I was talking to my friend about our favorite hair color. We both ordered some online when we knew our hair salons would be closing and we wouldn’t be able to get our sparkling gray hairs covered. We’re going to color our hair on Friday night and wait for the timer to go off over a Zoom meeting with a glass of wine. I can’t wait. It’s a silver lining I get to look forward to.

My daughter and I made steak fajitas for lunch the other day. We didn’t really have a recipe, but she sauteed peppers and onions while I made guacamole and grilled the meat. Then she rolled them up, covered them with cheese and put them in the oven. If things were normal, she would have been at school and I would have grabbed something and eaten it over the kitchen sink. We now have a new tradition in our house — fajitas on Fridays. It’s a silver lining we’ll enjoy for a long time.

It’s easy to let our minds wander to dark places and use our energy on the “what ifs” because there are so many unknowns in this scary time. For the first few weeks, all I could think about were the negative things that could come of this — because, let’s face it, there are many. We are all worried. We are all feeling a loss of control. We all want to know what’s next, and how to make this thing go away.

But we need to remember that it’s not selfish or insensitive to be happy about finding a new show to watch with our children. Or to be excited at the chance to eat on the back deck for the first time this spring. Or if we find our grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, and making them with our kids brings us enough hope and happiness that we are able to get through yet another day.

These little rays of light, these silver linings, are imperative to our health right now. It’s okay to share them. It doesn’t mean you’re putting your head in the sand. It doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the facts or being careless. It doesn’t mean you aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously and doing your part.

What it does mean is that you are taking care of yourself and your family. Because even if they only last a minute, we all need these silver linings now more than ever.

It’s okay to see the wonderful and peaceful through this mess. It’s okay. When you see something that brightens your day during this whole situation and you share it with friends, family, or on social media, it can be contagious.

Silver linings have the power to ignite a spark in other people. Not only do you reap the benefits from your little win, whether it’s painting your nails, donating money, taking your dog for a walk, or seeing co-workers on a virtual meeting — your joy and hope just might be the thing that makes someone else feel a little more at ease.

It may be the thing that helps you parent a little better. It may be the thing that makes you sleep a little more soundly. And a bunch of thankful snippets will be the stepping stones that get us through.

So share those silver linings. The world needs them now more than ever.

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