Here are some gifts of the pandemic:

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wound up knowing those he knows more deeply. “I watched the extraordinary generosity of friends and neighbors who helped people in desperate financial and spiritual despair because of the pandemic. It reminded me that Americans continue to be the most generous people in the world—not only financially but emotionally.”

Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska: “My 97 year old mom entered assisted living on Dec 30, 2019. The Senate’s April recess due to Covid gave me time to begin sorting through more than 60 years of memories in my childhood home.” She did office work online and by phone. “My parents kept everything—WW II letters, family photos, vacation scrapbooks. Toys and blue ribbons. It was a gift.” She’d show her mother what she’d found, and her mother would marvel. “I found the top of their wedding cake—a soldier in uniform standing next to his bride.” It was on a basement shelf. It’s made of ceramic or clay. Fischer now keeps it under a little glass dome. She found the letters her father wrote during the war: “ ‘My darling’ was his salutation.” She found her mother’s sewing box.

For Jason Gay, the Journal’s sports columnist, the lockdown carried unexpected opportunity. “This was a year of family fishing. I’d resisted it all my life—my late father loved to fish, and I couldn’t be bothered. But now my seven year old son is crazy for it, and my father is up there somewhere laughing. I grew to love the chase, and the disconnect of the natural world. Fish don’t know it’s 2020. I don’t even think fish watch cable news.”