Blessings Shine in Dark Places

I was recently on a segment of Be Scene On Air, a local public access television show that is hosted by my friend and respected colleague Sherri Sherban. This is something I’ve done several times and this particular segment focused on senior care and the changes that we’ve experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. While discussing programming, visiting restrictions, resident engagement and a myriad of other things, Sherri snuck in a question that I wasn’t prepared for:
“Have there been things throughout the facility that you’ve found to be beneficial and that you’d like to see continue going forward?”
What?? Things I want to continue after COVID? That’s ridiculous!
In a half of a second my mind reeled over all of the things that I want back...seeing friends and family without worrying about a runny nose or a cough; not having to cancel plans; going to a restaurant without wondering whether or not it’ll be open in a week; reigning in the urge to hoard toilet paper and macaroni and cheese for my kids; and then there’s the obvious, NOT HAVING TO WEAR A MASK EVERYWHERE! 
I think a part of our minds are always focused on returning to a state of what we knew to be normal. I also think that’s why we've had such a difficult time accepting these restrictions. I’m hoping all of this didn’t show up on my face since it was a live TV broadcast and the last thing I wanted to do was look like a deer in headlights. (Side note: I watched the show online afterwards and I am proud to say I did NOT look taken off guard - mini win.)
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we took a lot for granted in our past, “normal” lives. We were (and are) privileged. We were caught up in our own lives. Maybe we didn’t make the time we needed to for friends or family. We stopped doing the little things that really mattered. We spent more time on our phones than playing with our kids or talking with our spouse. We didn’t spend enough time outside. I’m guilty, I’ll own it.
Once I was able to refocus my brain on the question the answer came easily. What do I hope continues going forward? The close, personal connections that have developed, and all of the beautiful things that follow.
There really are silver linings if you’re so inclined to look for them. I’ve witnessed a community of people become a family, including the staff. Family members who couldn’t visit frequently before are now seeing more of their loved ones because of Zoom, Duo and other platforms. Bonds have become stronger, not weaker.
As masses of individuals were laid off and unemployed due to closures people became more mindful of where they shopped and supported local businesses whenever possible. Those local businesses played an instrumental role in paying it forward in their communities to give thanks and keep spirits high.
We all got the wake up call that real heroes wear scrubs, not capes. Heroes come to the homes of their students to read books and practice math problems with sidewalk chalk. Heroes are keeping our vulnerable populations safe and engaged. 
I see it on a daily basis. Sure, we all get discouraged, but we lift each other up too. That’s what a team, a community, a FAMILY does, and I’m in awe. I hope that continues too.
So, if you’re mood starts to darken, if it seems like we’re all being separated by restrictions and precautions, I urge you to try and find the blessings. Look for all the ways we’re connected instead.