Are you feeling distracted and confused, finding it difficult to concentrate and finish tasks?
Maybe you can’t tell one day from the next, as if every day is Groundhog’s Day after you’ve lost the normal rhythm of work, shopping, church, volunteering, and social events.
Do you struggle with keeping anxiety under control as each day seems to bring news that’s more foreboding, and the loss of once innocuous activities that are now forbidden?
Me too. You are not alone.
Beloved friends, for the past 15 years I have sought to share simple thoughts, now from the Ridge, that speak into the needs of those of you who mosey by my online home for a visit.
But never EVER has a global crisis occurred like the pandemic assaulting us now, where every single one of us wakes us to a world that has changed almost overnight.
My friend Charity Singleton Craig describes this phenomenon so well:
Years from now, COVID-19 will not evoke the same kinds of memories that other international crises do. We won't ask, "Where were you when ...?" kinds of questions. Because this isn't a "normal" kind of crisis. The news hasn't come like a hurricane, ravaging the coast for a day and then dissipating. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has fallen on us like a winter storm: just a few flakes at first, but eventually mounds and mounds of snow that we have to do something about. And in this case, the "snow" just keeps falling.
Since my last lighthearted post two weeks ago (seems like years) about doughnuts, of all silly things, I have wrestled every single day with the desire to reach out to each of you individually to make sure you are OK, that you are safe and healthy and well cared for. I’ve mentally composed at least a dozen posts and not published a single one because circumstances changed before I could even hit "send."
But in moments like this, as my friend Becky says, we can only do the next right thing.
So I’m brainstorming with Mike and my kids about ways that each of us can do something – the next right thing – to alleviate in our own small ways the social isolation, loneliness and fear permeating our world. As often as I can, I’ll post small things – just one or two for each day – that we can implement together.
Here's an idea for you today.
Use this time to teach the kids in your life how to protect themselves and others during this pandemic when good hygiene is crucial. Earlier this week, I quickly rewrote the lyrics to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to teach our grandkids how to “Do the Five” steps recommended by the World Health Organization. With all American kids and many around the world currently being educated at home, call this Music Class!
[ If helpful, feel free to pass this along to the littles in your life!]
And while we’re all sheltering in place, unable to physically hold, hug, and comfort one another? As Lynn Ungar has so beautifully expressed in her recent poem Pandemic, let’s reach out with our hearts instead.
What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love– for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live. –Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
We are not alone. We never have been.
Immanuel – GOD WITH US. He loves you so dearly, and I do too.
Copyright 2020 Maggie Wallem Rowe
Maggie's first book, This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others, releases in hardcover May 5, 2020 from NavPress.