Even the Coronavirus Has a Silver Lining

Slow down and spend time with my family? Yes, please.

Tracy Gerhardt-Cooper
Mar 16 · 3 min read

I’m grateful. As crazy as this week has been, I still try to look for the good. It helps my soul and keeps me focused on what really matters. We build the gratitude muscle best in troubled times.

Admittedly, I’ve felt uneasy lately since my husband and I are high school teachers. We had a case of COVID-19 being treated at the hospital next door to my school and two confirmed cases in the tiny New Jersey suburb I call home.

Moreso than a lot of people, I’m acutely aware of the risks of the COVID-19 virus. Every day, I share space with 1,500 other people in a high school building. Even high schoolers do their share of coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths or washing their hands. I’m the unofficial “Hand Sanitizer Police” in my classroom.

I’m working remotely until further notice in the county where I teach. My husband’s district, in yet another county, closed this week.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

My colleagues and I will be delivering lesson materials and feedback to our students electronically. At the same time, we will be instructing our own kids by helping them with the lessons their teachers send home. It’s going to be a surreal experience.

It’s a blessing to be able to provide instructional materials via the Google Classroom platform and share feedback with students remotely. We can do it with no problem these days. A decade ago, this wouldn’t have been possible.

The ability to temporarily teach this way allows us to count the days we are out as school days, so families won’t have to worry about making them up well into the summer. For logistical reasons as parents and contractual reasons as teachers, this is a big deal.

We stocked up our fridge before shelves were emptied in stores. All of us are healthy so far. We are blessed.

I’m happy to unplug and stay away from crowds. We’ll take a drive and go for a hike in the woods. I can grade papers and connect with my students online. The kids can paint at the dining room table and play outside in lieu of their art and gym classes. The mandatory slowdown of our hectic lives is a welcome change.

This disruption, though an unsettling challenge for our communities, brings the opportunity to pause and reflect. It provides a reminder to hug our families tightly and be grateful for a warm home, a hot meal, and good health.

While the coronavirus is still a concern, closing schools will slow the spread and keep more people out of harm’s way.

I’m viewing this temporary change to our lives as a way of recalibrating my heart and mind. The way we think about things has either a negative or positive impact on our overall well-being.

I’m choosing to see the silver lining.


Thank you for reading! I’m Tracy Gerhardt-Cooper, and I invite you to follow me if you’d like to read more real talk about real life. Please follow my publications Middle Ground and Loose Ends also. Let’s do life on purpose.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Tracy Gerhardt-Cooper

Written by

Believer, Writer, Teacher, Dreamer. Real talk about real life. Let’s do life on purpose.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness and fulfillment — in mind, body, and soul.

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