Today is Day 12 of our Self-Quarantine— Saturday, March 21 my husband and I found ourselves donning protective face masks and plastic gloves, and boarding an international flight in the Dominican Republic to return to our home in the States. The DR had closed its borders as a safety measure against our current pandemic. We were fortunate to be among the first wave of visitors returning to their homelands, cutting short our winter stay on the island.
Our home state, Illinois, was one of the first states to require that their residents stay at home for the common good. Even though our two-week self- quarantine is coming to an end, we will still be staying at home. Many of us are learning to Be Home.
I am very fortunate to have many faith-filled friends and family in my life who are looking beyond the horror of this pandemic in search of the gifts it holds for each of us. I am grateful to be home with a husband who is like-minded in his spiritual beliefs, and who joins me in digging deep into our faith—in leaning into the One who is strong and wise. Lent has certainly taken on a deeper meaning this year. We are also having many virtual conversations with dear friends and family encouraging one another to look for the gifts, to recognize and honestly acknowledge our fears, our losses, and our sadness, and to pray for one another and the world.
As I wrestle with wanting to do more, I am filled with awe and gratitude toward all those who are sacrificing so much for their fellow citizens. All those on the frontline like the medical community and the dear souls who are coming forward to help. Those braving going out to work every day. Those who are sick. Those who are dying. The sacrifices that so many are making for the good of others. I am reminded that my small sacrifice can simply be doing as I’m told—staying home—making the most of that time, and loving well whomever God places in my path or on my heart each day. Not being able to visit my 98-year-old mother in Florida, or spend the Easter holidays with family, while very sad, is a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifices so many are making each day to keep me safe.
There are many powerful words that have been written these last few weeks. Rather than add more words, I’m going to share with you some of the words that have been most meaningful to me.
A ministry in my own community shared this blog post on how we can redeem this time:
My youngest brother did a Face Time interview with my youngest sister who lives in Italy. It paints a picture of our fellow world citizens and offers a reflection filled with hope:
A current favorite podcast of mine, Abiding Together, did a special video podcast on fear:
A Chicago ministry that I follow, Transforming Community—Ruth Haley Barton—encourages us to look beyond:
Her blog entry ends with the wise and timely poem written by Kitty Omeara :
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
I pray this will be so.
So, if you are on the front lines of this battle with The Beast (as many are calling Covid-19), I salute you, I thank you, and I pray for you. If you are called, as I am, to be home, I encourage you to not waste this time. We may never pass this way again. Take this rest as a gift and allow God to transform you so you can help transform our world, little by little.
For out of this personal rest comes an explosion of goodness, first in ourselves and our lives, and then we can take that out into the world. (Matthew Kelly-Best Lent Ever—February 26)
Let’s hold on to the hope that spring always brings us: in today’s ever-changing world, Nature’s rhythms remain the same.