Have you ever watched a movie or TV show in which someone is temporarily blinded or paralyzed, or loses their hearing due to an accident, explosion, or shoot-out? There’s always a dramatic scene as the bandages are removed, and everyone watches, holding their breath, to find out if the patient will be able to see, hear, or walk again.

I’ll never forget an episode of the TV show M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye, the main character and head surgeon, is blinded by an exploding water heater. He’s treated and bandaged up, but doesn’t know if his sight will return. At the end of a week – or half an hour in sitcom time – his bandages are removed, and he is able to see. He is relieved, of course, but he also expresses the unexpected joy he felt from discovering his other senses heightened during the time he was sightless. He says that when one part of the world closed down for him, another one opened up. He describes the incredible experience of listening to a rainstorm, and other sounds he never paid much attention to.

Another doctor congratulates him on his recovered eyesight and tells him he’s a lucky guy. Hawkeye responds that he got lucky twice. First he got a chance to see without his eyes, and then he got them back.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. With all the restrictions and requirements brought on by the coronavirus, many things have been temporarily taken away from us. Things that – like our eyesight – we count on, we depend on, and we often take for granted.

We will, at some point, get them back, and we’ll likely be more appreciative of them than before we lost them. But in the meantime, many of us are finding gifts that we wouldn’t have had if we weren’t forced to stay at home and give up things like eating out, going to movies or concerts, and socializing with others.

Some people who haven’t picked up a book in years are now reading for pleasure. Many are enjoying cooking and baking to a degree they haven’t done in a long time. I saw an article online about the strange and interesting things people are finding as they clean out closets and cabinets. And many people are tackling projects and home repairs they never seemed to find time for in the past.

None of this is to say we should be grateful we’re forced to stay at home and away from others as we do our best to weather this storm. But we should be grateful for whatever we can do and learn during this time. When it’s over, we’ll no doubt see things differently than we do now.  Perhaps we’ll see them much more clearly.

April 17, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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