Starting with an identity theft nightmare that also served as a wake-up call in 2015, my family and I had an intense mission to make our lives easier.
We sold our house and two acres of land, released about 90% of our physical possessions, paid all of our debts, and removed on our schedules everything that enslaved and overwhelmed us. Three years after our minimization trip, my husband's job was unexpectedly outsourced, and a long series of multiple medical problems and 21 months of unemployment followed. These life-changing changes have led to a surprising but beautiful paradigm shift – we are now spending most of our time at home.
It is interesting to look back and see that our trip has prepared us for such a time. Apart from "essential" and well-thought-out, targeted reasons for traveling, we are already used to being at home. At home is the core of all our activities and the place where we crave the most. I find a tremendous feeling of peace when I know that my little family and I are all safely together within the walls of our home, and to tell the truth, I don't miss a thing from the hustle and bustle of the fast lane. I longed for this feeling of calm for years. It has already become our norm, so I can honestly say that little has changed for us during this period of closure.
I am in no way reducing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. My heart goes out to anyone who is sick, has lost a loved one or lost their job, or has been otherwise affected by everything that happens. I stand on the other side of my whole family and walked through. I just want to point out that positive changes and good things are happening.
1. Social distance from others shows how socially distant we have become from the people we love most.
The need to stay with our immediate families offers an amazing opportunity to reconcile and restore broken relationships. Families stay together in their homes. I can't find a negative for my life in it. We have received a valuable gift in the form of time and limited options for how we can spend it.
It warms my heart to drive down our street and see a family playing in their garden, couples walking hand in hand on the path behind our house, and children who (of course at a safe distance) in front of the ice cream truck in the Queuing that comes through our neighborhood every night. It reminds me of my childhood when life was much easier and easier to navigate.
At home is our personal haven. No matter what is going on in the outside world, we can close the door at home and realize that we are exactly where we should be. Although we are “compelled to seek protection at home”, we should perhaps consider making “protection at home” a voluntary way of life and spending more time there when it is all over. There is really no place like home.
2. When my husband's 35-year banking career came to a standstill, he realized that he had never enjoyed this type of work and he started to open up new opportunities.
Finally, he was given an amazing opportunity to do something that he can handle physically, and now he has a meaningful job that he really loves. When you lose your job, I feel your pain. I know what the danger of homelessness feels like. I am aware of the panic of looking into an empty freezer. But a brave new life is hidden behind the loss of your job. Something better is coming to you. Be aware and watchful. One day you will find meaning in today's pain. There is a reason for this and sometimes the only way out of a rut is to be pushed. Take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. You shouldn't go ahead with what you were doing and the days will be brighter.
3. Perhaps "normal" should no longer be normal.
Maybe we shouldn't come back to it so eagerly. Maybe you shouldn't be so busy. Perhaps in this whole worldwide shutdown there is this lesson that cries out to be taught – it is not designed to run through life. You should spend your days slowly and methodically in a state of peace. Take a deep breath and instead of fighting this time of silence, accept what it tries to reveal to you. Spend this time rethinking your priorities.
What is most important to you now? Maybe it's time to say no to commitments and commitments that no longer serve you and your family. You may need to break down relationships that have become toxic. Make two lists – things you are involved in and people in your life. As you write the lists, pay attention to how you feel about each entry in the list when your hand writes it down. What scares you immediately? What does a feeling of calm bring?
There is no better time than now to do so. Silence and tranquility bring incredible clarity of vision. Don't waste this time complaining and wishing for the old "normal". Normally a clean table was given. May it emerge new and improved from this crisis and what should it have been all along?
4. Use the time indoors productively by minimizing, debugging and organizing.
Cope with the projects you postponed because you never had time for them. Now you do! Make a task list and try to delete a task every day.
Always looking for the good. It happens – we just have to look for it.
About the author: Cheryl Smith is the author of Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a biblical perspective, and Homespun Devotions, where she writes prayer and conducts Inner Views.
Finding the Silver Lining was first published in No Sidebar.