These times are bringing about changes, to be sure. While some of the changes seem to “happen to us”, there are many changes that we can, do and will make for ourselves. Good can come from adverse circumstances. You know, the proverbial “make lemons into lemonade”. That’s exactly what many people are choosing to do.
One of the first physical signs of this was online postings of people painting their homes. Sure enough, you can hardly find a parking place at our neighborhood Lowe’s. The paint section is busier than ever. We had a paint project ourselves and spent 2 1/2 hours waiting for paint to be mixed. (Granted it would have been less of a wait if they had mixed the color correctly the first or second time, but that’s how it went.) The selection of paint brushes and rollers have diminished in proportion to the amount of paint that has been sold.
It’s not just paint people are after. An Oklahoma resident in the flooring industry tells me his business is busier than ever. He said people are at home, get to looking around and think, “This is a mess.” They are ready to make their circumstances better.
I think he’s right. But they’re noticing more than messes with their floors. They are cleaning out their houses. We haul yard debris and tree trimmings to our local dump. It’s usually best if we arrive early in the day so we don’t have to wait too long in line. Recent trips have proved that it doesn’t matter what time of day you arrive; the wait is over an hour. Others are dumping yard debris, but wow, a lot of people are clearing out dilapidated furniture and other “stuff”.
Speaking to a New York City resident of 44 years, he said, “I WISH I could buy paint.” While it’s true I’ve never seen a Lowe’s or Home Depot in NYC, I would think there are paint stores somewhere, but I guess they’re not as accessible as in other parts of the country?! Of course, NYC has been hit hard, not only by the virus, but also by regulations and politics. When they ordered in medical supplies, I guess no one thought to order in paint. This resident said the reason people in NYC are willing to live in such small apartments is because they are never home. Well, they are home now, confined to very small spaces. He predicts a mass exodus from the city when this is over, noting that people don’t want to live like that.
Many people are so busy going places that they use their home as a stop-off place. Now that they are stopped off for a while, they are pressed to make a life in their home. As a homemaker, and by homemaker, I mean one who delights in making our house a home…a place where our family is comfortable and happy to be, it’s encouraging to see people’s response to make their home a better and more desirable place. I know from personal experience how rewarding this can be.
Of course, this can happen with or without paint. It can also happen by cleaning things out, organizing and re-arranging to improve functionality and comfort. It’s also other activities in the home…the cooking, baking, entertainment and playing with books, games and music. But the people who will have the greatest results are those who focus on more than just the aesthetics and activities of their home. In fact, their chief focus will be the people in the home, their own well-being and the well-being of those with whom they live. Their attitude will dictate the atmosphere that is in the home.
As the saying goes, “Beauty is only skin deep”. Meaning that while someone may be beautiful on the outside, it’s the character, what’s on the inside of the person, that is more meaningful and which creates true and lasting beauty. The same thing can be said of our homes. While we could have lovely painted walls and everything in its place, disgruntled attitudes and lack of concern for others, does not create an atmosphere that makes a home. Proverbs 15:17 says it another way, “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox with hatred.”
Besides physical changes there are mental, emotional and spiritual changes happening. People are thinking about what they miss most during this shutdown. Many have realized how much they appreciate their jobs and the opportunity to work. I spoke to someone in the mid-west…who was so grateful to be working. A relation of his who wasn’t working had said, “If the virus doesn’t get you, the boredom will.” People are realizing that work and the opportunity to serve others brings meaning and purpose to their lives. And of course, the money they earn is nice too! After all, it allows them to exchange for goods and services that make their life better.
Many people are realizing how much they appreciate extended family, friends, neighbors and the opportunity to gather together at will.
Many people are realizing how much they appreciate extended family, friends, neighbors and the opportunity to gather together at will. Thoughts and ideas of freedom, independence and constitutional rights are felt even more deeply by some and becoming of much greater interest to others. Hopefully, there is a healthy amount of questioning of beliefs and sources of information.
Some of the changes we see people making will be short lived. In some cases, that’s good. In other cases, it will be unfortunate. To continue in the path of good changes we have made, we have to purposefully and deliberately maintain the attitude, make the decisions and perform the actions that keep us in that path. And we have to do those things until travel in that path becomes habit.
There will be good that comes from all that we’re experiencing during these interesting times. We can make sure there is good that comes of it in our own lives…that which we have control over…our attitudes and actions. In my heart, I am concerned about what evil may come out of these times in the world around us. It’s a burden that is too much for me to carry on my own. But I know who holds the future, and I entrust myself to His care.
Yes, good will come, and so will evil. And what man means for evil, God can use for good. I recently communicated with someone who acknowledged that in these adverse circumstances they are turning towards surrender to Jesus Christ. That is something to rejoice about! Of course, there are others who will use these times as an excuse to turn away from God. After all, the same sun that melts butter, hardens clay. How we get through this life is dependent on what we choose to be.
I’m looking forward to better times ahead. As the Apostle John said: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)