In February, I sat down to write a series of Lenten thoughts. I was concerned that I was not “being still”. I thought that I needed to take time from being busy busy busy to “be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46). Or find inner peace. Or self improvement. Or something. And boy, did I get that. The time, that is. Didn’t get inner peace. Probably not self improvement. Maybe a little connection with God.
Come on. Coronavirus confinement was not what I expected. Lent, Easter and beyond, it’s just been a lot of not being busy busy busy. And you know what? I don’t think I’ve self-improved much. I haven’t “used this time” to write a theological treatise, or even a not-so-great American novel. In all honesty, I haven’t even used this time to read a theological treatise, and though I have read more than one novel, I don’t know that any of them will stand up to the test of Great Literature. I’ve wandered through Netflix, and Amazon. I have found Acorn and Britbox, which have provided me with a steady stream of well done period dramas, and tidy Agatha Christie-ish “mysteries”.
On the positive side, I have learned Zoom-speak. I’ve learned there are a lot of people on the Internet, some of whom do not think before they type. And many who make very creative videos. I especially like those that have a whole family participating. It makes me think that enforced togetherness may produce some dynamic that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
I’ve learned that in many ways I am fortunate, because I found working, and mothering, and wife-ing (maybe that’s not a word) to be difficult enough, back in the day, without having to be a teacher, too. And to think I used to complain about car-pools. I’ll bet there are a lot of women who would gladly car-pool if only there were activities to car pool to.
I’ve learned that I am very very fortunate, because we have a financial cushion to get us through these times. Fortunate because as “things open up again” I will have choices about where to go, and how to interact with others. I am no longer one of those people whose livelihood depends on close contact with other people.
And I’ve learned that there is a place between being busy busy busy and being bored bored bored. Maybe that’s the sweet spot. I am pretty sure finding ways to keep oneself occupied while all by oneself thinking only of oneself, and interacting only with oneself or members of one’s immediate family is not a way to live. Equally, busy busy busy wasn’t the answer, either. Maybe that was just another mode of self-involvement.
Maybe it’s true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it. I miss people; not individual people (although them, too) but People. I don’t want my old life back; too much has changed. But I want a community back. People who don’t agree with me; people who do agree with me; people with their own lives, their own purposes. Even people in cars creating traffic. I want that back.
I just hope, that when we do start coming together again, we remember what we missed during the “stillness of the coronavirus months” and maybe, maybe we can just smile as we pass each other on our new pathways.
If we do that, maybe the stillness will have helped re-connect to God.