“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere – sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself” – author unknown (sign in woods, on the
Camino de Santiago)
Where are we now?
Seems like the answer to that question is only to be known in retrospect. My guess is that we’re in the middle to late stages of being sheltered at home, but how do we know? We don’t know how much longer this will be our reality. We don’t know if we’ll have to do this again in the near future. So – where are we?
If you’re like me, you’re doing your best to adjust to this new normal.
At first, I determined that doing this quarantine and social distancing was the right thing to do to be there for others – to help save lives. And so, I decided that if I was going to be home, I might as well get things done! I made lists (my go-to first step in planning). I cleaned out closets, cabinets, refrigerator… I’ve done lots of yard work. I’d figure out this tech learning curve and move all my in-person weekly groups to online groups – Yay, Zoom! (That’s only taken me most of this time to figure out!)
Then, I thought, I could really do some inner, soul work. You know, get up early, meditate, do some yoga, some reading and study, and then prayer. And, since we’ve had so many really beautiful days, I thought, I will take a walk every couple of hours to clear my head and get some exercise.
But, I’ve slept through the alarm more often than I want to admit – why would I be that tired? Gotten a little lazy about that ideal daily routine. What was wrong with me? Where was my motivation?
Then I felt guilty. I’ve had it a LOT easier than many. Tom and I have talked a lot about this. We know people for whom this has been horrible-friends who have or have had CoVid-19, others who work in hospice facilities, nurses and doctors whose physical and emotional lives are being so heavily taxed, families who were not able to be with loved ones in nursing homes or hospitals, weddings postponed – even fathers who had to miss the birth of their child. So many people have lost their jobs and their income. It’s been truly hard on a lot of us. Then there’s just this ambient sense that, for a lot of us, things look okay. But we know it’s not and we’ve a long road ahead of us.
Then we began to realize there was something in us longing to be heard. A sense of unease, a calling – something like a difficult invitation. The lack of normalcy has given rise to some very deep existential questions. What was life really about before all this? Two months ago many of us would respond to someone’s “what’s going on?” with, “OMG, I’m so busy!”
I know I did! But, really? I mean, we were…but with what?
Maybe the invitation now is to stay with those questions – what were we about, what made our lives so busy, were we simply cogs in a wheel? Was success something we valued so highly- and yet were our goals even noble? Its so easy to let life happen to us – family obligations pushed upon us, corporate goals set for us, personal and family time sacrificed – why did we simply go along with it?
Friends, I hope you and I, wherever we are in this strange time, will allow those deep questions to have a voice – to listen, carefully, to what our soul is asking, to pay attention to where the very ground of our being, is nudging us.
Can we go “back to normal?” And if we can, should we?
Paul says, “In Christ, God is making all things new.” That will always be the invitation to us – maybe in these strange times we’ll allow ourselves to pay attention. For heaven’s sake (literally), we NEED to come out on the other side of this time, not with everything back to “normal,” but for life to have new meaning and love to find a bigger opening.
My husband, Tom, and I are venturing into some new territory – dialogue sermons for the next few weeks during eleven:eleven.
Essentially, talking together about what we’re thinking about talking about! You’ll get a glimpse of what constitutes our crazy conversations when we wake up, when we are on our evening walks, and especially when one of us is preaching or teaching something that week.
It’s a little intimidating for me. (Tom loves the discomfort of being in front of a camera and not fully knowing where the conversation is going.) But I’m willing to walk some new paths and hope you’ll be there with us as we explore what this time has to offer – as we explore this new series: Ctrl – Alt – Del (Your Pandemic/post-Pandemic Self).
Maybe it’s time for a reset.
Blessings and be well.