No matter how you look at it, COVID-19 has made things difficult, frustrating, and unpleasant. But while it would be easy to just focus on all of the bad things about this pandemic, I have found that even in dire circumstances, positive things can still be found.

When the shelves of our stores became empty and necessities were hard to find, good old American determination, creativity, and generosity went into full swing. The Internet was suddenly full of creative solutions and workarounds for many of the products that were not available. We learned how to make our own hand sanitizer, disinfectants and we found substitutes for other hard to find items.

Everywhere I look, I see people who are reaching out to help others. I have found websites where people can post requests for any items or special assistance that they need. Others are posting things they are willing to share, and offering assistance. I have seen people volunteer to shop for those who could not leave home, or perform other tasks such as yard care.

During these difficult times, people have been willing to do almost anything to assist others. When face-masks became hard to find, groups of volunteers got out their sewing machines, worked to create them and then donate them to where they were needed.

This pandemic may have been a wake up call in a wide variety of ways. We’ve learned to be more health conscious, and maybe a little more appreciative of our freedoms, relationships and even our employment.

While the requirement to stay at home has helped to curb the spread of disease, it has also brought positive results for some who are confined to their homes.

I know of families who have used the isolation order as a means to draw closer to each other. They have used the time to play games and have found creative, safe, and fun ways to interact. Some of those families have said that their relationships have grown because of that confinement. One father told me that he is now closer to his kids than he has ever been.

We have also become more protective of each other. The precautions we take not only protect us, but those we come in contact with. At my house, my son and I are reminded about 300 times a day to wash our hands or use the sanitizer, simply because my wife wants to keep us safe. That works both ways, she suffers with asthma, and we watch her like a hawk to make sure that any possibility of exposure is avoided.

Having to be isolated from friends and other family members has been difficult. There is something in us that makes us want to reach out to others. Being unable to gather at church or restaurants, or even give a friend a hug, has made life seem a little dreary. But even with the stay-at-home restrictions, people still find ways to stay connected with friends and family.

When our granddaughters wanted to spend time with their grandmother, we knew that getting together was not a wise idea. But that did not stop them from having a good time. Using a videoconference program, they spent an entire afternoon together laughing and having a wonderful time as they painted pictures and worked on art projects. My son and his friends have been joining up each evening in online sessions to hang out with each other. Judging by the howls of laughter I hear coming from his room, I would conclude that they are having a pretty good time, even though they are isolated.

Through this pandemic, I realize that I have taken so much for granted. Once a month, I have been getting together with a very special friend, and we go out for lunch. It seems like years since the last time we were able to do that, and I have missed it. I miss being able to take my family out for a night on the town. Picking up food from a drive through is just not the same. We enjoy interacting with others that we meet when dining out.

My wife has been confined to home since the pandemic started. She said she would love to be able to just go walk through Walmart, even if she didn’t buy a thing. She misses the people contact. Having friends stop by our home, and visit while standing the required social distance from our front door is just not that satisfying.

Perhaps we needed this time, if only make us realize just how special and important our relationships are.

Things are getting better, but war is not over. There is no way to know how much longer this pandemic will last. Some experts say that we may even see another round of it. I hope not, I know we are all weary of the restrictions and problems this epidemic has caused. But I also know that we will eventually come out on top, just as we always have. Perhaps we will then meet life with a whole new enthusiasm, and find a deeper appreciation for each other.

In the meantime, let’s follow the guidelines, take the recommended precautions, and stay healthy. Once this crisis is over, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a nation to rebuild, let’s make it better than ever.


CourierTraveler reporter John Shelman can be contacted at (620) 442-4200 or

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