We who live in the Northeast experience a four-season climate — well, maybe. We can go to bed during winter and wake up to summer. That said, globally we have added a fifth: the “Season of Corona.” I cannot take credit for naming this season, it is the brainchild of the beautiful 4-year old daughter of a friend. Out of the mouth of babes and all that, right?

During this uncomfortable season we shared a strange dance between loss and gain and life and death. New words and phrases have become commonplace: the beast, pandemic, stay the course, flattening the curve, apex and new normal.

Some folks experienced watershed moments. Outside of getting COVID-19 did it change the way we think, feel or act? Did we tame the beast within us? Have we looked deeply into our souls and made an honest assessment of what makes us unique, beautiful, or ugly? In doing so, did you discover an uncomfortable truth?

I did.

I forgave someone who betrayed and hurt me — someone I thought I could never forgive. Intellectually I knew that I was hurting myself; but my heart had hardened. If I did not hold on to that anger, what would be left?

During one of my numerous walks to the beach (one walks a lot during the corona season), I reflected on the sheer amount of confirmed cases and corona-related deaths. Because the virus may catch one by surprise, I wondered if those who succumbed to the virus had left any unfinished business.

As I gazed out at the bay, I experienced a magical moment of awareness: I had unfinished business. Without giving it another thought, I pulled my phone from my sweatshirt pocket, got my bloated ego out of the way, and texted my “betrayer.”

We had a civil text conversation followed by a phone call a few days later. She wanted me back in her life. No explanations, no apology was offered, nor did I ask for any. This was the season of corona, I needed to set things straight.

Perhaps during isolation, we engaged in healthy introspection. Realizing that anything that costs our peace of mind is too expensive, we courageously removed a toxic person or situation from our lives.

Many of us became other-centered. We looked out for our neighbors and the older population. We cheered on our heroes who put themselves in harm’s way every day. We provided sustenance to folks who are food insecure. A new kindness was born out of this season.

Some perused social media and reconnected with old friends and widened their world. Folks started ordering take out from different restaurants. A win-win: We helped a restaurateur stay in business; and our taste buds were newly delighted.

Perhaps we discovered online church services while searching for meaning — and bam! We found it. We may have caught a line from a sermon or prayer that lifted our spirit.

Parents of preschoolers are keeping their kids occupied by encouraging them to make cards for lonely nursing home residents. Another win-win: our kids learn compassion, the residents feel less isolated.

Some of us are experiencing more connection and engaging in meaningful conversations with our adult children. My sons, who are always attentive, are more so during this season.

Mother’s Day is upon us, and ah yes, we may realize that life is indeed fragile. We may put aside preconceived notions we had about our parents and focus on their sacrifices instead.

In other seasons, we would send flowers to our mothers. On Father’s Day, we wold give Dad another useless necktie. During the corona season, we may feel compelled to give our parents the most priceless gift: love and gratitude.

Nowadays, we yearn to share a simple meal with our family. Yet, there were many opportunities in other seasons. What were we too busy with that mattered so much?

Such a profound ability to change is often the fruit of suffering. We usually do not miss something until it is taken away. My life experiences have been a great teacher in the loss department.

Once the curve is flattened and the danger over, will we continue with our corona season mindset — or revert to our other-season selves? We humans are fickle, you know.

At Christmas, the world is alight with sparkle and good will to all. However, once the lights are down and it’s a cold day in January some forget the love and light of Christmas.

Will my move to forgiveness last after the corona season? I trust I can resist the temptation to anger and stay the course.
Getting back to normal? Not so fast… What parts of your normal would we rush back to? If the positive changes we made during the corona season prove too difficult to maintain, then shame on us.

I have a stubborn faith in humanity that together we can stay the course. Imagine, Sir Elton John’s lyric: “I’m still standing better than I ever did” reverberating from balconies and roof tops across the globe?

Can you hear it?

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.