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Shutdown Silver Linings

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Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

In one of those ZOOM get-togethers that have become a social lifeline lately, participants were asked to reveal their worst and best experiences during life in the coronavirus lockdown.

My worst is an underlying angst and sleeplessness I can’t shake as I watch businesses and workers idled and try to swallow the passage of trillions of dollars in relief and stimulus. 

I could go on about this. And I did, starting our time together on a real downer. 

My fellow participants rescued the meeting as they began describing the good things they’re experiencing as a result of the current limitations. 

People spoke of how they’re finding more time for reflection on their relationship with the Lord. Some see themselves dropping pretenses of control. We find it uncomfortable, even painful — but good — to learn to trust God more. Others said they appreciate relaxed dinners with spouses and family members, and opportunities to do some long-postponed purging and organizing at home. Many of us agreed we’re reaching out more to people who are important to us — often calling rather than emailing or texting. 

And folks mentioned some sweet opportunities to communicate the gospel and provide help to others.

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan predicted some positives for the nation in her column last weekend: First, she quoted a social psychologist who says: “hardship generally makes people stronger.” And Ms. Noonan wondered, “Could what we’re enduring leave us less polarized?” Not in Washington — she clarified the question — but “across America.” She wrote, “We need to be easier on each other, turn down the judgement 80%, or 90%.”

I’m rooting for getting the economy opened up sooner rather than later. The spending and the limitations on freedom must be curtailed before they’re baked in. But this era of lockdown is forcing practices like more online education and homeschooling, telemedicine, and commonsense immigration restrictions that could prove worthwhile and remain, becoming a silver lining to this dark cloud.

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