How to Love the Pandemic - Well, Almost

           I must admit that I didn’t have time in my life for the current health crisis. I had a full complement of social obligations. We had a long pleasure trip planned with friends. I enjoyed my busy life. Or so I thought.

            Fear of infection, however, made me withdraw to a much-reduced schedule. I only ventured out to the grocery store and pharmacy, as recommended. Fear of losing control glued me to the TV watching statistics and sad anecdotes about victims. Fear of the unknown produced despair and, later, restlessness and irritability. After the initial wave of sadness, I thought perhaps we could re-claim our lives, not quite in the same old way, but substantially and with just a few add-ons, like masks and social distancing.

            Now the second wave is rising and about to crash on the beach.  Have you felt the panic, the malaise, the quick anger or sudden tears? Our level of anxiety lurks just below the surface of our lives. What do we do to live sanely and move ahead?

            I’m not here fully engage that question, but to say a few things I’ve observed and decided recently.

            One: I can turn to my faith. Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation has been my joy.” God is bigger than any problem I will encounter, even this microscopic menace. I almost forgot that.

            Two: I can find contentment in the everyday, ordinary rhythms of life. Without multiple obligations to distract me, I can finish a few quilts, get rid of clutter, get all the gardening done. This year I noticed the azaleas bloomed exceptionally large and long. The blue sky, when it showed itself, was bluer, and the air fresh.

            Three: I resolve not to immerse myself in media gossip, conspiracy theories and doomsaying. I will fight back with gratefulness. I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. There are still beautiful things in the world and precious relationships. Recent research has confirmed what we already sense: gratefulness helps us feel better. We shift our concern from ourselves to others. And, If I have faith, I can thank God for all his good gifts and benefits.

            I admit I’ve had some rough times: discouragement and big dips of sadness, a couple of near-panic episodes and longing for this all to go away. I guess we each need to take care of ourselves, pay attention to what we’re feeling and find ways to get past the hard times. And help each other. Endurance is a long road, but we can do it.

            One day at a time, friends.

© Beryl Carpenter 2013 - 2018