The coronavirus set people and businesses reeling as life slowly ground to a halt. But we, and our communities, have pulled together to face our fears in ways that have surprised even ourselves. Finding the silver lining in such unprecedented changes may be difficult for many, but not for these families.
Emily and Cecil Gitome are blessed to have two beautiful daughters. “We are thriving, not just surviving,” Emily says, “We are grateful for our health and although it’s been so terrible for some, it’s been really positive for us.” With their second daughter, Josette, born in December, Emily was just recovering from the birth when the virus hit, so she was already comfortable at home. Things are different now with two children and having to think outside the box when it comes to entertaining the kids. She said “What has surprised us has been that we are challenged to a higher level of creativity. We are doing things with our two-year-old that we would have done with her when she was older.” Cecil says, “What surprised me was that I could still be productive while working from home with the children present. Despite the pandemic, it’s easy to forget about it since I’m with family and surrounded by love. We don’t want to forget that there is hurt out there and a pandemic, but the time that we’ve had together with family, has really brought out a sense of unity. It grounds you and brings you back to life.”
Stephanie and Quinn Furman, too, are feeling blessed. Not only are they making the most of the slow down in their schedules, they’re planning to keep it that way. In her second trimester of pregnancy, she’s now beyond the morning sickness. “It was so great to be able to work remotely as a personal trainer. I could rest and eat when needed to overcome the nausea.” Grateful to be at home, Stephanie says, “The one thing that surprised me was how okay I was with all of this and how much I enjoyed it and our new schedule. For me, one big change was realizing how little time we normally have together because of work schedules. This has helped us to slow down the pace.” Stephanie’s husband, Quinn, is a home remodeler and carpenter and is so thankful that he still has work. Quinn says, “The sunny side of all this was that I could still work, and that Stephanie is here when I get home. We’ve really enjoyed the time together, and I even have time left to do some homeowner things around the house.”
For Real Estate Agent Roger Franks and wife Mary Ellen, their time at home has been filled with opportunities. Roger says, “Through this, I have been finding new avenues to help others in need. We’ve been collecting and delivering food supplies and are looking for opportunities to serve others. One thing I do miss, is the face to face conversations like those that happen in coffee shops. I’ve had Zoom calls but it’s not the same so I’m looking forward to interacting in person.” Mary Ellen says of the slower pace, “I kind of would like for it to stay this way, and for this to be our new normal. It would be great if we could keep our schedules less cluttered so life wouldn’t move so fast.” Like many people, Mary Ellen decided to leave her job since it required contact with others. “I do miss my job, and I’d like to go back to that, but very part-time.” The sunny side for her was the extra time she now has. “I had time to reach beyond my circle, and I was so excited about getting in touch with family and people from my past, such as my college roommates and extended family. Those phone conversations were just so fun!”
There are things that have surprised each of us- good and bad. But using the gift of time to connect with others, and focusing on what brings joy and gives hope will sustain us, one day at a time.