The second week of March was extremely stressful for me (and certainly for many others as well). It was the first week that the reality of COVID-19 was starting to hit home. I had just returned from vacation that Sunday which included a plan ride with a hundred or so people who could have been from anywhere. The governor was shutting down our business. In a hurried rush, I packed up my office to work from home – for who knows how long. I wasn’t even certain how long I would be able to continue working. It was so stressful.
As my life began to settle into some semblance of routine, blessings started to pop out at me. One here, and then another over there. With less distractions and constant going here or there, these blessings became more visible. There was more time for prayer and journaling in the morning since there was no need to commute to work. My cats would take turns visiting me while I worked as if they knew exactly when a cuddle was needed. And since it was spring, nature was coming to life with lovely flowers, a wide array of greens, and beautiful melodies from the local song birds. I was able to enjoy all of this during my lunch and some occasional, distressing tea breaks. On neighborhood walks, there were parents outside playing with their children with laughter and squeals of joy.
Life had slowed down; and maybe for the first time in my life, I was discovering true rest and peace. A hope was bubbling up in me for a new normal. A hope, that as individuals and a world, we would come out on the other side of this pandemic better than we had entered it. My heart longed for others to notice and embrace the blessings of now rather than falling into the stress of the gloom and doom. I do hope we leave the quarantine with a priority and refreshed love for our relationships, with a knowledge that we can still live comfortably with less, with an appreciation for living at a slower pace, with an understanding of how much we do impact our environment, and with a desire to care for one another.
As I hear the news and see friends lashing out in anger online, my hope gets shaken. Sometimes, fear and anger suck me into the madness. At those moments, I need to hit the reset button. Instead of holding on to the anger, I back away and allow myself to fall back into the awareness of all of my blessings. I refocus on the beautiful sound of the birds and remember how important love is. And I will continue to focus on hope and hold onto the peace I have found.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 ESV