The quarantines, lockdowns, and other restrictions that were put in place in 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19 are annoying and detrimental to many people. I’m grateful that I have been spared pretty much all of the ill effects of these things. I’m still employed, healthy, and happy. But I haven’t remained the same as I was before this started. In fact, in many ways COVID-19 has been a blessing to me. I’d like to share how my life has changed for the better in the last six months.
Replacing Fear with Courage
I’m quite shy about teaching and vocalizing in public, even though I’ve had many callings over the years that demanded I lead classes. In the past couple of years, I admit I shrank from leadership roles, and I was content to stand back and let others take the reins. But I’ve realized that I am capable of a lot more when I step out of my comfort zone. I finally got a chance to participate in my role as a leader of young boys last week after many months of being unable to meet together as a group. The time away from them helped me gain a new perspective on what I can offer them.
You may have noticed a change in my writing on this website, too. I hadn’t published a new Cinematic Chiasmus in years until I got the courage again to start making new ones this year. In the last few months, I’ve shared four of them: the entire Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy and Beauty and the Beast (1991). Life is too short to be timid about helping others. So I’m doing my best to push past my fear and be more active and engaged.
Fighting Against Entropy
In June, I got a call from a police officer who told me that I was in violation of a city ordinance because of the poor state of my yard. I had allowed the grass to die over the course of a few years because I didn’t have the umph to fix my sprinkler system and keep my yard well-tended. I knew it was an eyesore, but that shame wasn’t enough to push me to do anything about it.
Knowing that I was about to be subject to hefty fines if I didn’t correct the problem within two weeks motivated me to finally break out of my stupor. I got to work pulling most of the weeds that had grown out of control around my property. I hired a friend of a friend to repair my damaged sprinklers, churn up the soil, and plant fresh grass seeds, which began to sprout up in time to put me in compliance with the law. He did a great job.
This experience taught me that it’s not enough to simply hunker down and ignore problems. Instead, I need to be proactive and fight against entropy because if I do nothing, thorny weeds will take the place of pleasant plants. This is one of the most important things that could have happened to me, and I am a changed man because of it. I no longer hide in shame from my mistakes, but I seek to correct them and make sure I’m up and doing in order to be at peace with myself.
Strengthening Mind and Body
Since the start of the lockdown in March, I’ve had a lot of time to read, study, exercise, and spend time with my wife and children. It’s been wonderful. I’m still employed, but my commute time has been trimmed down to the few seconds it takes to walk to and from my home office and turn on and off the computer. My kids love playing tag with me, and I love all the exercise I get doing it. They have even started taking on more chores, like laundry and other cleaning tasks, lifting my burden and learning the value of hard work and responsibility.
My wife and I have had a chance to read lots of new fiction and non-fiction books and connect over them. I feel like my life is on a constant uphill trajectory right now. Any bad things that happen teach me something new and help me be a better man, so (when I put them in perspective) I see that they are not really bad things at all.
I don’t mean to imply that a pandemic is good or desirable. I just want to point out some of the ways I have turned lemons into lemonade to hopefully help people look on the bright side. This difficult time has been an opportunity for me to make improvements to myself that I otherwise might not have been able to make. After all, we grow stronger through adversity. I hope you, too, are doing well and able to see the good in any situation.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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