Finding Joy Amidst Struggle: The Silver Linings That Keep Us Going

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A couple weeks ago, I started thinking of the positive things coming out of this hard time as we deal with all this time at home, away from each other. I wrote down some thoughts so I wouldn’t lose track of my feelings of gratitude.

Since then, I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write this. We keep getting more difficult news. We have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel for the essential workers, for families that have lost someone or are struggling through recovering from the virus themselves, for everyone who is pregnant and stressed about bringing a newborn into this reality, the economy . . . the list goes on. This is so hard.

However, I still think it’s important to rest in the joy and consider the silver linings. I shared my thoughts on trying to stay positive with the Kidlist team, and it was great to brainstorm and support each other in that way. We know there is a lot of pain and hardship, but these silver linings give us hope and enrich our emotional well-being.

We would love for everyone to add to this list so we can all experience joy amidst the struggle.

We’re slowing down.

Listening to birds chirping and seeing clouds change shape has become a beautiful thing. I have noticed these things before, but never to the level I have in the last month. I see the beauty of creation and find joy in it.

We’re learning to conserve food.

I’ve yet to receive everything I ordered for curbside pickup at the grocery store. Although it adds frustration to a difficult situation, it has taught me to make do with the ingredients I have. Leftovers have become even more precious. We hardly throw any food away anymore. If the kids don’t like what I have in the refrigerator, there really isn’t another option other than eating it.

Our kids are learning life skills.

Before the stay-at-home order, I didn’t know that my son had never preheated the oven. My kids didn’t know how to sew a button. They knew how to fry an egg, but follow a complicated recipe? Never tried! It’s so wonderful that we are all giving our kids the opportunity to learn how to do the laundry and other tasks that we never think about teaching them when we are so busy rushing from one thing to the next. Even if it’s just about how to decipher when it’s safe to cross the street.

We’re spending quality time together.

As my kids get older, I feel like the time we have together is more and more segmented. We have good conversations in the car on the way to practice, or talking at bedtime. But we never have this much time to talk about whatever pops into our heads. Those impromptu conversations and time spent has brought us together even more.

It’s given us a safe space to try something new or reconnect with old hobbies.

I have never seen so much bread-making, chalk-drawing, instrument-playing, craft-making, — you name it — on social media. That’s awesome! People are exploring what they are interested in with amazing results. I love seeing everyone’s creativity blossoming.

Rachel has been able to reconnect with old hobbies as well. She broke out her knitting needles, then abandoned them to play a video game that she used to love in high school! Sometimes we are digging up silly things in our past, but silliness is sorely needed right now.

Siblings are becoming closer friends.

Okay, not all the time; there is plenty of fighting. But the sweet moments are so incredible. I’m seeing siblings coming together to play their own made-up games, talking to each other about their day or feelings, and even set the table to create special moments for their parents.

We’re spending more time outside.

Katie mentioned that they usually have a limited amount of time outside between school and activities. They are now going outside any time it’s not raining. Fresh air feels so good!

We’re finding learning opportunities in everyday activities.

Sara pointed out that she is seeing learning opportunities where she never saw them before — like using math while baking and science during nature walks. Learning is fun, and this time is giving us the opportunity to talk to our kids in different ways.

We’re learning how to be good community members.

Sara also mentioned that she appreciates the opportunity to teach and model for our kids how to be good people and community members. Sending letters and pictures to nursing homes, discussions about not hoarding supplies, and writing positive messages of support on sidewalks are some example that come to mind.

Nicole also talked about sharing fun ideas for kids, offering to get groceries for others, driving by with birthday signs, creating neighborhood hunts for kids, and thanking first responders. It makes everyone feel close together in purpose, even though we are further than ever in distance.

We’re having family dinners together.

Jill loves having family dinners every night. She felt lucky before if they were able to all sit down and eat together just a few nights a week between practices and rehearsals. They have been connecting during dinner and during their family walks after eating.

We’re being more intentional about connecting with friends and family.

Since we can’t spend much time together, connecting via texts, emails, phone calls, and video calls has become so important. We have time to make more of an effort and think about everyone in our lives.

We’re making our homes a happy place.

Many of us have been working on house projects that we never had time for before. Clearing out our basements, hanging pictures on the walls, creating an office corner, painting our bedrooms different colors, rearranging rooms to mix it up a bit . . . all of these things are making our living spaces more enjoyable and pleasant. And that feels good!

We’re doing lots more cooking and baking.

I have gone in and out of enjoying to cook and bake, but this time at home has made it more of an enjoyable activity instead of just trying to get it done before going to the next thing. Everyone is trying new recipes, sharing tips and ideas, and posting inspiration so we can all keep it fresh. Not to mention that we are eating all this great food!

After this is over, do you want to hold on to any of these things? Which ones would you want to continue to focus on going forward?

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