In this moment in history we’ve discovered that the life we’ve known can quickly be taken down by a virus. Is it all really that fragile and fleeting?
So much has been said about what’s going on; about how to cope. Websites and blogs and memes have mushroomed overnight to provide advice and distraction. The media is full of stories from inside homes where life has been upended – almost to the point of voyeurism. There have been emails, round-robin type communiques that have an algorithm that somehow makes you the recipient of an encouraging word if you send it to the right number of people and put your own email in the right slot. I haven’t figured it out yet – I think it may have dead-ended in my inbox. A deluge of discounts and special offers on goods and services floods in, the electronic chatter that lulls and deadens.
I salute parents who are home schooling when they never entertained the idea; parents who are trying to work from home if they have the kind of job that provides that option. I especially salute those who are not working because their jobs disappeared from one day to the next. I know many such people. My own work in our community has changed, as our schools have moved to distance-learning models.
So I binge-listen to the news, then I turn it off and don’t listen for two whole days. I read, I listen to my audiobooks; I walk where I used to drive. I can feed and take care of my family. But I’ve found myself occupied by a thought that goes something like this: What do I want for myself from this?
Somewhere in the online noise, which I participate in, I want something besides coping stratagems and life-hacks for social distancing and isolation. I long for a depth of understanding, for deeper thankfulness for those around me, for broader compassion, and lower material expectations.
It is has surely not gone unnoticed by others that this enormous disruption of normalcy has come during the season of Lent. Jesus was the great disrupter of the status quo, the bringer of the spiritual sword, and the giver of Eternal Life. When this is all over am I going to be the same woman looking back on a time that was different and that we survived (I pray)? Or am I going to be changed by my moments of longing for greater love and deeper peace in Jesus, and stay there? I want to say that life will never be the same, but more than that, I want it to be true.