Most of us are creatures of habit and thrive better with the routines of daily living. However, during this temporary season of “social distancing” and disruption caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus, we should reframe the disruption and inconvenience into a positive. This period of unusual distancing from school, work and play may provide a positive impact — in the gift of time. There’s much to appreciate when there is time to acknowledge our surroundings.

As a lover of nature, I usually try to spend a little time when possible during normal days bird watching and sunset viewing. Yesterday morning, while drinking coffee and reading my Bible, I witnessed from my porch a squabble between two Eastern Bluebirds and a Black-Capped Chickadee over which bird gets to claim residency in a vacant birdhouse hanging in an oak tree. This was followed by a rare visit from a brightly red-colored male Summer Tanager and a female Northern Cardinal hopping around the back yard sharing fallen birdseed with other birds. Then, our resident Red-winged Blackbird announced his arrival with his usual loud obnoxious calls, making it clear to all winged friends he is in charge. In the backdrop of all this winged drama, the blooms of spring were opening, adding much needed beautiful color to our landscape.  Azaleas, Florida jasmine, lorapetalum all herald a season of renewal and vigor. Had I been attending my usual daily work and carpool duties, I would have missed this enjoyable exchange right in my own back yard.

All the while, I was receiving uplifting scripture verses, prayers and messages of hopefulness from my ladies Bible study group. We may not be able to gather as normal, but we are “virtually” encouraging each other.  Amazing! God is good… all the time! He is present among us. And, time is a gift from Him, even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.

What can we do with the gift of time?  We each may have a different response. I think the gift of time that may come even in our current national emergency is a chance to pause to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to a loving Father. To enjoy the beauty of Springtime.  To contemplate blessings even during trials. It’s a chance to care for ourselves, and others, better than any other time.

Be still. (Psalm 37:7a “Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him”) Listen. Look. Laugh. (Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”) Breathe. Experience. Reflect. And pray without ceasing. (Ephesians 6:18 “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”) Read the Bible. Journal your thoughts, feelings, and scriptures. 

Enjoy the gift of extra, unplanned fellowship with your spouse, your children in a quieter time and space. Walk in your neighborhood. Plant seeds and create a garden in your yard.  Plan new and creative meals with your family. Encourage others through social media. (Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.”) Write, yes write, letters to family and friends. Be more engaged with one another.  Create special memories. Set aside regular prayer time with your loved ones. So many ways of using the gift of time are available to us, which provide nourishment for our souls and spirit, even as we all practice social distancing, trusting that our “normal” fellowship in person will be that much sweeter!

  Psalm 18:1-3 “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, My God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.”

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; Pray continually; Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Stephanie Wilson, M.S.