By Meg Mullins

Not the virus itself. A virus, after all, is inherently villainous; snatching away somebody’s very favorite person, like a swindler’s parlor trick, magically reducing their chair into a chair. 

I am truly gutted for every single soul’s loss and every doorway darkened by its effects. So, more accurately, I’m grateful for the awakening; the monkeywrench Covid has thrown into the cogs and gears of a bustling merry-go-round. The sudden screeching halt; a timeout called in the middle of the game, allowing the players a moment to notice the golden, warm sun on their face, a second to breathe in fresh, cool air and to wave at the people who show up for them. 

There are a wealth of uncertainties that come with a pandemic, but there can also be technicolor clarity. Those who look hard enough are given the opportunity to examine the bare bones of their lives and to take an inventory of essentials, beyond toilet paper. We can carefully inspect every day pre-covid, like a prospector panning for gold. What useless, insubstantial silt and rubble rises to be discarded, and more importantly, what or who are our gleaming flecks of gold?

I’m hoping the next chapter is the one where the pendulum swings the other way; a renaissance featuring such a resounding resurgence of love and tender human connection. A period that historians will someday say could only have come after the lonely isolation and stark separation. 

I’m grateful for the awakening in my own spirit, a reminder of how precious life is: a crowded dance floor of rhythmic breathing, the laughter and clatter in the local cafe, the joyful noise that fills the room when loved ones gather, cackle and snort, the softest cheeks of the people you love, a long hug, a simple handshake. The time will come when we embrace again, and I believe we will all hold on, just a little bit tighter. So for that, I am grateful for COVID-19.