I didn’t realize how busy I was until I stopped. I didn’t really think about how important it was for me to go places and be around people until I couldn’t. I never really thought I was stressing myself with activities until, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, there were no more activities, and I had to stay home.
Then I decided to dig deep and learn what was infectious and what wasn’t. I vigorously washed my hands, remembering what I had touched and which hand I had used to handle anything that might have germs on it. I scrupulously disinfected door handles and light switches, mopped the floor, sewed masks, and developed a strict routine for the times I had to leave the house. I did all this to protect myself and the loved ones in my home.
But then I also spent much more time watching television news. I dug online to learn about what was going on and what the future might look like. Apart from all my pains and efforts, I probably also spent too much time looking for things to entertain myself and keep my mind busy, because it was so hard to be still. It took a while to settle into the new routines of a quieter, simpler life, to learn to be selective about what I watched and listened to, and to limit my time thinking about the pandemic.
So I spent more time in my garden. I tended tiny sprouts and watched them bud before my eyes. In the new quieter world, there was less traffic and airplanes, and I could hear birdsongs and church bells. I learned the power of sanctuary, having a place where I could go, without people around me, without media, where I could protect myself from the contagion of fear and anxiety sweeping across the world.
As my world became smaller, my internal life became a bit grander. As I shut out other thoughts, I could commune with God in my heart and find that place of peace in the midst of storm. I felt like I was going through the needle’s eye Jesus spoke about1 and entering into the kingdom of heaven, shedding some of the weights and worries that had bogged me down and seeing life a little more clearly.
So while I pray desperately for those suffering, dying, and dealing with the loss of loved ones or income and security, and while I continue to pray for my own protection, I have been blessed to find a place to quarantine and protect my soul from the viral attacks of fear and anxiety. In the most difficult times of darkness, God’s light shines brighter to guide us and keep us through it all.
.1 See Matthew 19:24.