Hope for Us in the Midst of COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is at the forefront in the minds of most of us these days. Even if we wanted to, it seems we cannot escape from constant bombardment of news about this pandemic. And most of the news puts fear into even the strongest among us.  

In the midst of all the scare, if we look carefully, we can find a few positives. My hope is that as a result of this article, others will also contribute to things that this virus threat has brought that are positive.

  1. This Crisis Has the Potential to Rebuild Family Life.

It is no secret that family unit is fractured today. One of the biggest culprits for this is the busyness of each member of the family. And even when the family is together, myriad of devices calls for our attention, not allowing us to fully engage with the people that we should spend most time with.

Due to this pandemic, most schools have closed their physical doors. But on the brighter side, the school systems are figuring out ways to move to virtual learning. We also hear about some industries that have slowed or closed temporarily (i.e. – Sporting events, most public performances, libraries, etc.), and businesses that are suffering (like the restaurants). Even the religious worship gatherings have been affected – many going to worship via video casting.

Even in this, there are positive things. Yesterday morning (April 5, 2020), our family, including our dog, sat down in front of our television, watching live stream of our pastors and praise leader, and worshipped as a family. After four weeks of this, even our dog seems to know that 10 a.m. on Sunday is worship time; he comes into the family room to worship with us. Of course, I would rather go to our church and worship with the larger church family in person. But the fact that our nuclear family could worship together, rather than be split was nice. On a normal Sunday, our teenagers go to the Youth Service, and my wife and I go to the Adult English Service. For other families, they are further separated if one parent goes to a Korean service and the other to an English service.

Almost a month ago, before the strong recommendation to stay home (with fines imposed), our family went on a hike. We saw many families out hiking. Even as we walk around our neighborhoods for exercise, we see families spending time together – practicing good social distancing.

Of course, we also hear about abuses and other bad things happening to families during this time, too. But as I interact with people through social media, and virtual classrooms and meetings, I am hearing more thankfulness from parents who now have time to spend with their children.

My hope is that we would all take advantage of the “quarantine” situation and take the opportunity to strengthen our family bonds.

2. This Crisis Has a Potential for Greater Innovation.

Have you seen the viral public service announcement from Vietnam? It is pure genius! They used a pop hit song, created dance moves, utilized cartoon, and sent it out by social media (TikTok) to spread a helpful message to fight this pandemic. Click here to see the video.

South Korea was in the news only a month ago as having the highest cases of Coronavirus outside of China. The number of cases were rising fast. Today, South Korea is heralded as the model for fighting pandemics for how they handled the situation. The South Koreans have quickly set up and  tested nearly 20,000 people 24 hours a day. Since the outbreak, South Korea has created network of 96 laboratories to test for corona-virus. All this has resulted in South Korea having 0.7% fatality rate verses 3.4% worldwide (BBC News; March 12, 2020).

Our girls are doing their school work online, as I type this, and have been for a week. Last week, I was able to teach 3 classes via Zoom. Of course, hackers are busy trying to interrupt these meetings, finding weaknesses in technology. However, these tech companies are working hard to not only fix the problems, but to go beyond to introduce new features that people are suggesting.

Other innovations abound. If necessity is mother of invention, then crisis are the labs for innovation. New ways of expressing gratitude to the health workers, who are on the front-lines of fighting this pandemic are popping up in various places and various ways (Vancouver’s 7 pm health-care workers salute). Stores may have missed the mark in distribution of essential items, like hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, but innovative methods will be devised to better handle crisis like these in the future.

I am hopeful for the innovations that will inevitably come out as result of this crisis.

3. This Crisis is Good for Individuals.

How many times have you thought, “if I only had a little time for myself…?” Thanks to the “Stay At Home” orders from our government officials, many are getting that wish.

Remember the stack of books that we set aside for when we may have the time to read? We can go through them and start reading. What about the projects that we have had on our “honey-do lists?” We could get to some of them, too.

One thing that has helped me is to look at my week and block out chunks of time for different activities; time for focused reading, focused work, focused family time, and even “catch up time.” Without having to commute to work it is easy for us to lose track of time. The scheduling allows us to actually get up at a certain time and get ready for the day. Of course, no one other than my family may see me throughout the day but getting cleaned up and putting on clean clothes allows me to show my respect to them.

Binge watching movies or tv shows, or whatever the streaming services have available, is so tempting, and take away so much of our time and our brain functions. But when we keep a regular schedule, it helps to get to those stacks of books, the “honey-do lists,” or exercise that we’ve always lacked time for.

One of the biggest advantages of this time can be our ability to slow down enough to think about deeper things in life. Before the coronavirus, many of us were filling our calendars with so many things that we had to “do.” We had to accomplish so much in our work. We had to make sure that our vacations were full – so that we can post fun pictures on our social media accounts. We had to go to as many trendy restaurants, try new things, and post them. This time of forced isolation maybe one of the best gifts that God has given us – to think, “why do I do the things that I do?” And, maybe that’s the beginning of us figuring out, “who am I?”

I hope these are helpful in seeing the bright side of this crisis. As the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” And “for this, we have Jesus.” Please post in the comments some of the positive side of living through this “Plague of 2020.”

Practicing Social Distancing on a hike.

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