A Post-Mortem on this Experience
It is a common practice to consider what you would want people to say about you at your funeral, as a guide post for how you live your life. Given that we find ourselves in this unusual time of COVID-19, it is appropriate that we also consider a post-mortem on how we are showing up in this situation. What would we hope people would say about how we behaved, and what we contributed, in this experience. We have no idea how long this will go on — and what the cost personally or collectively will be. Like so many things in life there is much that is out of our control- but we can all focus on the things we can control- such as:
- Attitude- are we able to bring joy to the lives of the people we encounter, whether those with whom we are quarantined, or those on the next Zoom call? Are we a force for stability and peace, or drama and discontent?
- Dale Carnegie wrote about living in “day tight compartments”- the idea that we can only influence and control what happens in the day we have been given, and expending energy on the past or worrying about the future. A familiar concept, also captured in the Lord’s Prayer (Give us this day our daily bread…)- and one that seems to be very relevant in these uncertain times. Focusing on what we can influence in this day- and not more- is a good reminder.
- When I think about my own post-mortem on this experience, I would like to be remembered as a good friend and someone who was there for my family. A support and a listening ear. A shoulder. Not sure if I am there yet, but that is the goal. It is funny that in “normal” times there would be more professional ambitions- but none of that seems as important now. Being a good steward is as important as ever, but what that looks like is more about being present and responsive to the people in my life- and maybe that is what it has always been.
- How can we be helpful? In these difficult times the examination of how any of us can use our time, talent and treasure is as important as ever- and in some cases more challenging to figure out how to deploy. Donating money is not difficult- there are no shortages of worthy organizations in need of help right now. Time and talent are more difficult given the physical constraints, however we have all adapted to the virtual meetings so there are ways to connect and help. Whether it’s in sewing face masks, donating blood, or volunteering with missions in your town that help the most vulnerable, there are still all sorts of ways to contribute.
- Health — we can only contribute to the extent that we are well enough to do it. Social distancing and wearing masks are now table stakes. We can focus on eating well, sleeping enough, getting the exercise we need (I have found some wonderful ballet classes on YouTube that I am loving!), and finding activities that feed the soul. When this time of quarantine ends- and it will- we will be back at the business of “real life”, and being as strong as possible to take on the next challenge is a gift we can give ourselves.
- Spiritual growth- at this time of Easter and Passover, many of us are focused on our faith. Having more time — as many of us do right now- is an opportunity for everyone to look for ways to grow spiritually. What a gift!
Taking a bit of time to consider what will make you happy when you look back on this time- and be able to say to yourself, “I did the best I could”- is a worthwhile exercise. As with every trial, this situation provides each of us an opportunity for personal growth, if we want it to.