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“I am so tired and scared. I wish I could take a quarantine day.” A statement from a health professional at the frontline. All the while so many of us are saying, “I’m so bored day after day being quarantined.”

We like to whine and complain, with some of us professionals at it. I personally feel ashamed and guilty if I dare voice a complaint of any kind these days. The current pandemic provides the perfect storm for imposing painful living. If it were not for the thousands who have died worldwide, if not for the prevailing pain, suffering and sickness, if not for the loss of jobs, loss of income, hunger and anxiety over feeding a family, only then could I say I have problems. I have no room to complain saying petty things like “I need to go to the beauty shop, I need a mani-pedi or I need a meal in a restaurant.”

Yes, this pandemic is a cross to carry. However, it is a golden opportunity to grow up for us all, young and old alike.

I sincerely sympathize with all those denied proper recognition of births, proms, graduations, honor ceremonies, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and especially the burial of loved ones, such current denials leave a painful emptiness never experienced before. So many of these cancelled, once-in-a-lifetime events can now never happen. This includes fundraising events in communities and states; as well as national and international events that bring in revenue. It is a disappointment at best. However, we are left to count our blessings of health, family, food and comfortable shelter.

The upset of denying our children the opportunity to participate in community events, sports, play in parks and church events, is beyond measure. Our present coronavirus situation can be a teaching moment of truth and self-awareness for all of us.

Viewing human history puts a comparative perspective on these painful days. For countless generations parents typically had a 24-hour responsibility with large families, cooking from scratch, washing clothes on a wash board and without medical or media amenities of any kind.

During the last several decades our children have had a growing isolation problem due to both parents employed and the growing obsessive use of electronic media by children and parents alike. Time for relationship and love has become a scarcity for so many families.

Personally, I have found this pandemic experience a growing opportunity by reading more, enjoying a sunrise and sunset, listening to the birds, watching the trees sway in the wind, cuddling my pets, cooking more and praying more. I am fortunate to have a husband as a quarantine communicating partner. I have become a full-time housekeeper and girl Friday.

I am experiencing something like an elongated “staycation” from full-time volunteer work. This volunteering work gives value, meaning and purpose to my life. I miss it. I do not miss social distancing since I am not a hugger by nature. I like my personal space. I feel somewhat uncomfortable not doing my volunteering, as if I am wasting life’s precious time.

My final musing is: Each of us is called by our Maker to serve; made to live in community, not isolation. We can use quarantine time to deepen our commitment to love God and neighbor. The apostle Paul said, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”. [Philippians 4: 11 NIV] Whoever we are, adults or children, show your true colors, mature and come alive as children of God called to serve and love fully; especially in these stress-filled days. We can be a changed for the better people - or we can remain the same.

MILLY BURKHART IS A RETIRED EDUCATION ADMINISTRATOR AT EKU. A NATIVE OF HARLAN, KY. SHE VOLUNTEERS AT BAPTIST HEALTH CORBIN AND BLUEGRASS CARE NAVIGATORS (HOSPICE DIVISION) AND IS PRESIDENT OF THE CORBIN ROTARY CLUB.

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