• Erica Rosi Tham

11. Hopeful Reflections during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

I live in Seattle where people have been experiencing strange times for a few weeks. Now this has extended to the nation. It seems appropriate to pause and reflect on what we are learning from this outbreak, andI believe there is much hope to be gained.

We Value Our Parents and Our Elders Deeply

Isn't this interesting? There has been so much conversation in recent years about our youth-loving culture--how we tend to believe that only young people are beautiful and how we do not respect our elders as societies have in the past.

But in this crisis, suddenly, we are all threatened with the loss of our parents and grandparents, and this idea that our culture is so much in favor of youth ... well, maybe that was just an urban legend. An emergency situation can clearly separate the fictions we tell ourselves from the truth in our hearts.

Now, as we take our daily walks and meet each other's eyes, we know that we treasure our parents, grandparents and the elders in our communities.

We Need Each Other

Aren't we all realizing this in new ways?

I mostly work from home, teaching online English classes, and I am an introvert by nature. I love working with people, and I believe my calling to teach was a true blessing for me because without it, I might have been prone to staying alone over-much. As it is, I have about twenty-five students and a loving husband, and this is enough for me socially, except when I go to a cafe or restaurant with my laptop or when I go to the office space I rent one day per week for in-person classes.

And yet I am missing the chance to go to cafes and restaurants and the office. As a person who needed less of that than many, it seems strange, but there it is. Those little bursts of lively community did more for me than I ever realized.

And now many kids can realize that they need school more than they thought.

And many office workers can realize that having a place to go, at least several days of the week, can be good for the soul.

And we are all reminded that the small restaurants and cafes we often take for granted are not just businesses making profits. They are places where we gather; they promote our communities.

We Have a Privileged Way of Life Most of the Time

I believe the grocery store raids and hoarding reflect the worst part of this situation.

When we feel anxious, it does not help to realize that everyone around us feels the anxiety too, some more than we do. However, I think we need to be kind to ourselves; sometimes our anxieties just need an outlet.

We can also learn from those empty shelves; they send the clear message that most of the time, they are not empty. Not only are they full, giving us a treasure trove of options for our diets, but they are regularly full, dependably full, of almost anything we could want. Even on limited budgets we have numerous healthy choices.

And another truth: if we can vent our anxieties with shopping, how privileged we are! Everyone who raced to the store had enough in their bank accounts to do that. The poorest American is richer than so many people in our world, and now is a very good time to remember that.

What our Personal Habits Have Been--We Will All Change Uniquely

Here in Seattle, they started sending home employees two weeks ago. My husband, a software tester, began working from home three days a week. He struggled to work in the house, though, and was wandering between cafes and libraries. Next the public schools were closed through April 24th. Then my husband's workplace told him to work from home all the time for an indefinite period. And on Monday, his natural restlessness was completely curbed when they closed restaurants and eating places.

He is an optimist by nature and making the most of the situation. He has set up his home office on our living room sofa and is taking little trips as he can--to the drug store, the bank, or the grocery store. But overall, he is staying home far more than he usually does, and I believe he is already realizing that this is not so bad.

I'm going on walks with him more often to give him (and myself) extra social time.

As we see so many kids in our local park, our desire to bring our adopted kids home grows stronger.

And we are now discussing how my husband may be able to stay home more often when our adopted kids are here--another beacon of light for me :)

I hope we can all find ways to learn and grow through this strange, new experience. Our prayers go to all those affected by the Life Center in Seattle that was stricken by this virus, and to all of those, world-wide, who are experiencing anxiety or grief.

Erica Rosi Tham

45 views0 comments