“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” David Whyte
Isolation. Social distancing. Life during a pandemic. How is it for you? Are you changed? Are you better now than you were before?
Someone said, “What bothers me during this pandemic is my loss of freedom… to not go where I want and do what I want to do. That’s been really hard.”
In truth, I don’t feel that way at all. In the past, many of us were overwhelmed by too many options. We could spend more time weighing our options and ultimately deciding to just do what we’ve done before. Often, we’d settle for less. It’s easier to repeat rather than try something new. Being a creature of habit isn’t freedom. But it might be a sad and unfulfilling way of life.
For me, the slowing down and restrictions imposed by Covid-19 have been a gift. I see each day with greater clarity. I walk a better pace. People have said, “You are kinder, more gentle.” I now choose more carefully. I see beauty more often and more easily.
I do not want to return to my former, faster way of living. Yes, it seemed like I had more options. But that made each day a hectic calendar of events.
In pondering the lives of great people like Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela, and Sojourner Truth, the confinements and restrictions they endured are staggering. Were such people great because they triumphed over adversity? Or was their ability to endure adversity, and be transformed, what raised them to human greatness?
Christians claim that the fullness of life happens through the concomitant experiences of suffering, dying, and rising (what we call the Paschal Mystery). If we truly believe that, then let us see this as a time of grace and possibility. What lies before us is a future with a new way of seeing, a more authentic way of living.