Some may ask how could God let this pandemic happen? Why would he allow the burning of cities and the destruction of our history?I believe we should be asking, what are we meant to be learning? How can I make changes that will help me grow closer to the Savior and to my neighbors, family and friends, all of whom are our brothers and sisters? Have we been humble enough to learn from this pandemic? Has it changed us and made us more humble and teachable? Has it taught us to be more like the Savior?
1 Peter 5: 4-7And when the chief Shephard shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away…. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
In our study this week in Come Follow Me…
Alma 32: 6 “And now when Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in preparation to hear the word.”
Have we been humbled and thus more prepared to hear the Lord?
As I have have spoken with and otherwise communicated with many during the past four months, I have come to realize those who were temporally prepared were humbler because they felt blessed due to their own preparations. They were also blessed with more peace. They had been humble enough to listen when counseled to prepare.
I asked friends, family and those who participate on the Totally Ready Facebook page what good they have seen during our time at home and how that will change what they do in the future. Following are a few of the answers I received.
I really love the small rural community in which I live. In times of distress there are always those who band together to help each other. Once schools went virtual last March, a local small farm immediately began serving free lunch to all children 18yrs and younger. No questions asked. While our school system also put together a lunch program quickly, this farm acted immediately. They even serve on Saturday. Lunches include a sandwich or hotdog, fresh veggies and fruit, chips, a cookie and a drink. Even if you get a lunch from somewhere else, she wants you to come by. She’s continued doing this Wed-Sat all summer!
I’ve seen people on our community FB page offer to go grocery shopping for anyone who feels unsafe doing so. For free.
The company I work for grows organic vegetables for employees and donates produce to local food pantries and kitchens. This year, in anticipation of disrupted produce supplies due to COVID-19, they doubled the employee farm acreage so they could double food donations. Additionally, they gave away free organic vegetable starts to employees so that we could grow some of our own food this year. This company also converted operations to produce hand sanitizer and donated the entire first run to essential businesses in our local community.
A local group formed to sew masks for donation to local essential workers. Those who don’t sew were helping by sourcing and donating supplies for masks, as they quickly became scarce.
And finally, my friends and I have started having zoom calls every two weeks. We are spread out over 3 different states. I don’t know why we didn’t do this before. We’ve all broken down in tears and laughed happy tears. So grateful for this connection and emotional support.
What are some of the good things I have seen from the virus?
I have LOVED the slower pace of life. I feel like life before was a rat race and I don’t want to go back to it. I feel like I have heard my children more than ever before. I have laughed more than I have ever before, often times with family over zoom. We have cooked together more than we have in a very long time. I also have developed some mad hair cutting skills! Our hairdresser may not agree but she can fix my mistakes once she’s working again. I probably should say also that I appreciate my hair dresser more than I ever did before! My elderly neighbors are more on my radar now as I call them before I run to the store. My kids have done more bike riding and my husband and I have taken more walks together. We have purged all of the junk from the spaces and cupboards of our home and our yard has NEVER LOOKED BETTER.
What will I do differently as life goes back? I hope that I will do a lot of things differently. Mostly I want to guard what things we choose to put back into our life, material things and also things that take our time.
More donations of food and money to those who have lost their jobs. Also, neighbors are in more frequent contact checking on one another. The clothing Bins donations are bulging over. Also, I heard of an anonymous payment for utilities to help a family.
I have tried to keep track of gas I am saving by not commuting to work and gradually working on my yard and a few things in the house. Moving slowly but makes me feel like I am accomplishing something which helps me be happy… which helps the two men living with me. LOL
I am going to keep masks on hand even when we don’t have to wear them again. They help if someone is sick, not just during the pandemic. When you go to visit a newborn also. When we have fires like we are having now in UT. I know for sure TP and tissues along with food storage has been a must taught by our parents for years. I am keeping that tradition going.
Some of the good things I’ve seen during lockdown:
More families are slowing down and spending time together. Families that wouldn’t normally eat dinner together don’t have much choice anymore.
Being closer physically has allowed us to be more intentional about spending one-on-one time with each member of our family. Being able to focus on each of our children has helped us build deeper bonds and ties.
Removing the pressure of activity and commuting has given us permission to slow down and focus more on the quality of our life instead of our productivity.
Our neighborhood has had a lot of people putting encouraging messages on the sidewalks in chalk. It’s good to see that people are teaching their children to be positive and encouraging to others in the face of adversity.
We’ve also seen an increase in our personal attention to matters of the spirit. Without church programs to lean on or use as crutches, we’ve had to make more time for spiritual things, family scripture study, family prayer, meditation, conference talks. That’s something we want to carry forward with us when things get back to “normal”; a greater sense of personal responsibility for our own spiritual destinies.
When the virus hit, we went from the life we knew to huge changes overnight. Seriously, overnight. I went to bed in my everyday life and I woke up in a new life. I felt overwhelmed by the changes. Someone said we were grieving our old ways as we adjusted to new ways. That felt true, for me. Still we moved forward. Our family needed to see me calm and controlled.
Family and faith have always been our top priorities, and we’ve had more time for both. Preparedness has always been important, too, but I’m really grateful to be able to access home and curbside deliveries. I’ve done several haircuts and dog trims at home.
I will be so happy when we can hug again and I will be relieved when we can have a routine doctor visit with no worry of catching a virus that could kill us.
I think my family was in a really in a good place before the shutdown happened, but what I learned was to be prepared—physically, spiritually, temporally, and emotionally. But for all my preparation, I was still lacking. We are a long ways from being done with this pandemic, so I will continue to learn and cope in the months ahead.
And Dodie added:
I have seen parades for coworkers to celebrate their day. I have seen gifts left on friends’ doors to cheer them up. I have seen people go through their friends list and reach out to every single person to make sure all of their friends are ok. What would I do different? Be more organized. Make sure we had things we wanted as well as things we needed. I would have started prepping (hard core prepping) ages ago and gotten out of debt. Currently, I am working at getting my master herbalist diploma and learning Spanish. These are things I didn’t do before the pandemic but should have.
It forced us to stop and look at our neighborhood. Build relationships with neighbors and take note of the dealers that were trying to set up shop. The lockdown also opened my husband’s eyes to our need to be more prepared. The thing I am most grateful for… bonding with my 13 year-old son.
Increase in homeschooling is the best thing.
Bringing our children of this country back into the fold of family values.
Carolyn, I am indebted to you for the insight as over the years, you have become my advanced warning system for being prepared for upcoming disasters. I have felt the true comfort of being more completely prepared than I realized as we hardly needed anything for the duration of C19.
I ditto all of the other comments about missing church, but mostly the temple, family relationships, the home-church learning curve, feeling closer to neighbors and nature.
Many many people have been using our creek walking paths. A more interesting note: the new bike aisle was empty by May as were the family board games shelves. That is a big statement about simplifying family time.
The opportunity for people to once again observe the laws of nature with consequences —we have a tendency to believe we’re above it all.
I think more people are using forgotten skills such as cooking, family meals, sewing and sewing for charity. Looking at “stuff” in homes and purging. Making or maintaining budgets, increasing savings. More togetherness, watching out for neighbors, service.
I’ve really enjoyed having my boys home. Sharing household skills with them: cooking, laundry, cleaning. And doing art with them. It was very useful to see what we actually used during the first 2 week quarentine. I have altered my list.
I love this story from Jeri:
During the peak of the toilet paper challenge, I had a very elderly lady using a riding cart in the store. I was tickled to see other customers help her reach things on the shelves and one gave up his large pack of toilet paper to make sure she had some. When she checked out, her debit card declined. A wonderful customer behind her paid her bill and told her to pay it forward when she could. I sent a cashier with her to make sure her purchases made it to her car and that she got in her car safely. Strangers came together that day and blessed that lady. Made me feel fabulous for the rest of my shift!
I have been glad to have projects to work on at home. Some are ‘around the house’ projects, and some are craft or sewing projects that have been piling up for years. I would be going stir crazy without them and I have done so much.
I’ve gotten to start new flower beds at home, spend so much time with my family. I’ve also greatly improved my sewing skills, something I thought I’d never get better at.
I’ve also seen others perform good for others: taking food or sending takeout to those who are already sick or too at risk to venture out. Sending care packages to those who are struggling. Organizing birthday and graduation parades. Gathering donations for people out of work. There’s still good in this world, so let’s shine the light on it and not the negativity.
Personal and family growth and development…. Cooking new things, teaching my kids to cook, navigating emotional needs, less outside responsibilities that detract from the family, my kids are best friends again… the list goes on!
From our friends serving a mission overseeing the operations at the Mormon Battalion Center in San Diego:
We have and are doing tons of projects at the Battalion and for the Old Town community. It has been an amazing experience as our missionaries have THRIVED these past 126 days since we have been closed. They have learned to work and come to appreciate the joy of service.. From one of our sister missionaries:“…I appreciate your example of being hardworking, obedient, and a really good listener. You and Sister Allen are a power couple if I ever saw one! You never fail to impress me with your vision and drive to get the job done! Thank you for helping me learn the importance of service…seeing you serve for hours every day, and participating myself in daily service, I know that service is something we do because of our love for Heavenly Father. Just know that you are the best!”
We have given virtual tours to people all over the world that would have never had the opportunity to come to San Diego. We have had people in tears with gratitude for this opportunity. https://calendly.com/mormonbattalionhs/mormon-battalion-virtual-tours?back=1&month=2020-07
Yet another Elaine:
I’ve learned that I can be happy in my own home with the peace and quiet. I don’t have kids at home anymore. I’ve also learned not to panic. When I go grocery shopping, if the shelves are fully stocked, I’ll buy an extra of something. I was taught to have a year’s supply but it’s hard to store extra in Arizona where the temperature gets up to 115 most days in the summer so I’ve had to be selective on what i buy. When the pandemic hit and we were told to stay home, i wasn’t worried. I had plenty of toilet paper and sugar. I did buy extra flour, though i don’t do a lot of baking. One thing I’ve noticed, is that my friends and neighbors are watching out for each other, making sure that we have what we need, offering to shop for us, etc.
My daughters each learned to play an instrument during the time of isolation. One practices the piano every day… and the other is learning the to play the Ukele. I love having music in my home!!! We have turned off our TV which constantly announces our impending doom. I hope we never turn on network television again. I planted a bigger garden, started raising quail for eggs and meat ( just in case). The best thing that happened is that our son and his family came home. Having four extra people near has made quarantine awesome! We are blessed!
I’ve started playing cards or games with my husband in the afternoon. We rarely used to spend time together when we were home. I’m seeing fewer friends but talking to my family more.
I hope we keep up this practice.
My husband and I are retired and so we have spent a lot of time with me reading out loud to him. We have read 9 books on Church History so far. Some of the books we have had for years but never took the time to read them. Our testimonies have grown. Another thing we did was to play games with our far away family via zoom or google duo. It was fun to be “together” while apart.
This one from K in Africa broke my heart:
Here what I strongly remember is the curfew tine that was starting at 2 pm to 6 am and police officer, Army officers chasing people out of towns and trading centres, caining and arresting whoever found on road past 2 pm, many people got injured running home, and market vendors sleeping in market places for weeks without seeing their loved ones.
This one, my favorite, from my 13-year-old granddaughter:
Some good things I have seen during lockdown are mostly the community coming together. We have friends who just had twins during lockdown and their weeks are completely booked with babysitters doing service for their family so they can go to work. Also, I have learned a lot of new things and have more time to focus on improving myself. I have also Facetimed and talked to my extended family more often. I have also become closer to my family and my siblings. Our family has been trying to learn new skills while we have this extra time so I am teaching myself Spanish and guitar, which I wouldn’t have time to learn if this virus had not happened. Something I will be doing differently is I am a lot more germ conscious and will be focusing on washing my hands and not touching my face.
What have we learned? Remember, learning means a change and not going back to old habits.
1. Preparing brought peace.
2. Family time is important and we may have forgotten that. We need to be diligent in creating more time together. Siblings do love each other and can be best friends.
3. It’s important to have and practice skills.
4. It’s important to make time for our own learning and we need to keep learning.
5. Comfort foods are a must have.
6. Time with our spouse needs to be more of a priority.
7. Gospel learning is not just a Sunday, at church, activity but can and should happen at home.
8. We need our friends and extended family for strength during a difficult time so keeping those connections strong is paramount.
9. Serving really does bring joy to those served AND those serving.
10. Most people are kind and thoughtful. We need to get to know our neighbors better.
11. Having hobbies and the supplies for those is important and not just clutter.
12. Exercise can be fun and bikes are not outdated fun. We do not need expensive boats or toys. Simple can be best.
13. We spend too much money on unnecessary things, items we don’t need and eating out. Cooking for yourself can be fun and really taste amazing, it’s not that hard.
14. Being prepared to entertain yourself with games and puzzles makes for great family time and are a must have.
15. We are creative; drive-by parties, zoom showers for weddings and zoom graduations, stuffed animals displayed for kids to count on their walks, sidewalk chalk messages of hope and love, and family game nights using the internet to connect family far away.
Finally: It’s much easier to choose humility and prepare temporally, spiritually, financially and physically than to have it forced upon us by a loving Father in heaven.
Alma 32: 15 Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble.
We have been taught, God first, family second, church and work after that. Is this what we were meant to learn first and foremost, to turn back to God, the importance of family and to become more like Christ thru service to others?
Mark 12: 30-31: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Have we really learned the lessons so we are prepared for the next humbling of the world?
Join Carolyn at https://www.facebook.com/TotallyReady/ Each Monday is financial and food storage preparations and Wednesdays/Thursdays learn where to store for those who believe they don’t have room. Lots more tips and discussion with questions answered. Join the discussion.