“God’s absence in the carnage is due to one single rather unnerving fact; that at some time past He honored our request that He leave. And if we are not brutally honest with ourselves regarding that choice, it is we ourselves who have set the stage for the next tragedy.” ―
Never before in the history of humanity we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s causing a universal reaction – social isolation and fear. Here in the United States there is hysteria about buying up all the toilet paper and hoarding spaghetti noodles.
How are you handling this new life? We live so fast and immediate that having to adjust to a quarantine without an end seems beyond belief. We cannot imagine it. There are no words for what we are experiencing now. It’s just not in our vocabulary.
What are you doing with your life in this new orbit? Sure, there are things you must do. But there is also so much else that’s going on during your quarantine. Your life is being rolled up with all these experiences that you would never have chosen. They are now a part of your history, every day that follows. Your children have this inserted into their journey.
This is an un-American experience. We have lost freedom, so few of us are pursuing happiness, control is out of our hands. No one likes to be told where and when to go to church, grocery shopping or running in the park.
This is also a great American experience. Each generation needs a common enemy to draw us together and help us to see what “we” truly are. Sometimes in our past that enemy was the brutal frontier. Then it became wars with foreign enemies. We may not remember our medical battles against dark foes like influenza, polio, bird flu, mad cow disease, and SARS. These brought us together to do battle and save our people (especially children).
What are you doing with your life right now while under confinement? I know you’ve been bombarded with suggestions and even some good ideas. I’ve collected a few and am trying some to see how well they help.
“Solitude is a chosen separation for refining your soul. Isolation is what you crave when you neglect the first.” ―
While you are stuck in your house, you start to pay attention to the place. Maybe it’s time to make some changes?
- How about moving some of the pictures on your walls around?
- Don’t you have a closet that desperately needs to be cleaned out?
- You really are never going to wear those clothes again, why not bag them and donate them?
- You may need to ask permission, but what about rearranging your furniture?
- Most Americans have a number of items in the refrigerator that have really gone past their expiration date.
There are probably some bigger projects that you have time to tackle right now:
- Make some connections with people who need to hear from you (and haven’t in a long time)
- Aren’t there some books you’ve been meaning to read? Pull them out and hide your TV remote
- Tax deadlines really will arrive, why not start putting the pieces together? You could develop a system.
- Anything big out in the yard that needs your attention? It’s only going to get hotter (down here in Houston)
- Organize your photos, music, contacts, socks?
While you are living a new kind of life pay attention to the quicksand that can happen every day if you’re not careful:
- Try to set up a routine for each day
- Come up with some reasonable goals for the week (write them down and post them)
- Connect with other people during each week, make a list and start to work your way through it
- Schedule breaks and do something with the people that you love, even it’s on Face-time
- Don’t let the TV determine your daily routine
- When you are out, socially distant, smile more often
“An intelligent person, looking out of his eyes and hearkening in his ears, with a smile on his face all the time, will get more true education than many another in a life of heroic vigils”.” ―
What about some of the larger and more meaningful projects in your life that deserve special attention now that things are so disoriented?
- Get in contact with people more often than you would normally
- Tell people that they matter – when we’re isolated we have fewer experiences that affirm this truth
- Make a prayer list of people who are especially effected by this disaster
- Send a meal to someone else
- Figure out a way to use technology to communicate with others using live images of yourself – let others SEE how well you’re doing
- Comb your hair, shave your face, make your bed, put on some perfume, act like the real you, not the “shelter in place” you – do who you really are not the who you’ve been forced into
Acquainted with the Night
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.