By: Cheryl Katz

When this school year began, I looked at my son and thought “How the hell did that happen?”.

Everyone tells you high school zooms by, but you really have to experience it for yourself. At least once per day, I would see him and think “three years and he’s gone”, and then have to accept the reality of how quickly those three years would go by, especially with his budding social life, sports commitments, and massive amounts of homework.

Oh, if only there were a way to slow things down and have the opportunity to create more memories together….. 

Well… careful what you wish for. Sometimes, you put the question out there and the universe provides an answer, although it may not be the answer you were expecting or could even conceive of.

For all the medical professionals, police officers, and many others who have been shouldering the burden of this pandemic, life has most likely become more harried and more chaotic over the past couple of weeks. The rest of us can show our gratitude by providing whatever supplies and support we can muster, and re-prioritizing the type of work we tend to value in our society.

But for many of us who haven’t been on the front lines of this thing, and who have been fortunate enough to stay well and financially stable, we find ourselves with a sudden abundance of the most precious commodity known to mankind. Time.

I have to admit for the first week or so, I just decompressed. I started cooking and baking every day, I watched a lot of movies, finished all the books on my night table, and spent glorious hours with my children doing nothing. I was reintroduced to my old friend “stillness”. It was a bit like coming home or returning to a natural state of homeostasis.

But as we make our way into week three, I find my energies restored and my mind gravitating toward larger questions. I have been reading a lot of sociology and theology, searching the great minds of our time for a deeper understanding of our world. And then two days ago, I woke up in the morning and for some reason, the very first thought that popped into my head was the Krav Maga symbol. Strange right? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly pertinent it is right now.

For those of you who don’t know, the Krav Maga logo consists of the letters K (Kuf) and M (Mem) written in Hebrew. The two letters are intertwined and surrounded by a circle. But the circle has an opening on the top and on the bottom because the system is always open to improvement. There is a space for old ideas to flow out and new, better ideas to flow in.

Wow. Think about that. Not just for Krav Maga, but for our lives.

I’m betting each of us has cleaned out at least one drawer, closet, or room since our social distancing quarantine began. Perhaps it’s also time for some “out with the old, in with the new” in our minds and in our spirits as well.

To do this in a meaningful way is much harder than tossing out old bills from 2004. It involves work: deep introspection, brutal honesty, and perhaps letting go of some ideas that have given us a false sense of security for some time.

It means looking closely and critically at yourself and the world around you, asking the hard questions, and in today’s day and age, being very discerning and careful about where you seek out the answers.

I see the opportunity to do this as a great gift.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how I want my life to be when things return to normal, and I have come to the conclusion that although it’s definitely not what I have now (I miss Blue Titan!!), it’s certainly not what I had before either. 

I have felt for some time that humanity has been spinning out of control, and I have been going right along with it. Perhaps the silver lining of this time is the chance to hit the reset button. This begins on an individual level, but if this pandemic has taught us anything worth knowing, it has taught us that we are all connected.

So I for one will take advantage of this time to envision the kind of community, country, and planet I want to live in–what needs to go out of the circle and what needs to come in—and face myself squarely in the mirror and ask myself just how much I am willing to contribute to bring these changes to fruition.

How you respond to a crisis–the qualities you exemplify as you forge your way through challenges– says a lot about who you are. But I would say that who you become on the other side—and whether you can remain that person well after the storm has passed–says even more.