The COVID pandemic has certainly shown us how quickly our world can be turned upside down, hasn’t it? Things change from week to week, day to day and sometimes hour to hour. I watched as churches announced online on Friday that they would still be holding services only to find themselves scrambling on Saturday to keep the flock together and informed as they were closing their facilities to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The uncertainty has brought out the best and the worst of us all. We have seen everything from people hoarding toilet paper and fighting over hand sanitizer to people looking for ways to reach out to elderly friends and family. We have seen churches activating phone trees to keep in contact with members and pastors taking their ministries totally online, speaking to a camera instead of a congregation. We have also seen reactions from the extreme of fear-mongering to saying there is no danger and encouraging people to behave irresponsibly.
It is perfectly normal to be afraid in times like these. I am not even going to pretend that I don’t have my moments of fear for myself. I also have concern for others in my senior community, many with compromised immune systems. But I know I cannot let that fear consume me.
Believe me, it is not easy; but this is a time I have to continue my spiritual practice and trust God. As someone who always has to be doing and helping others, I also have to ask, “What is mine to do? ” — right now, in this situation.
This time of uncertainty is also a time of great opportunity. If we will use it, many of us will now have the chance to slow down, rest and connect with our higher selves. We have time to strengthen the spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, affirmations, study) we may have been getting lax in, so we will come out of this even stronger and have better ways of coping when the next crisis comes. We have the opportunity to get creative with new ways to keep in touch with others and maintain a strong sense of community and belonging. This is the time to learn new things, new ways of living and being.
If we focus on only surviving this time of great uncertainty things will be just as chaotic when the next great earth-shaking event (or even just a small one) occurs. With the world changing as rapidly as it is now, uncertainty is a given. How will we cope? Will we stay stuck to the things that used to work? Or will we anchor ourselves firmly in faith and practice as we prepare for the next great adventure?
As in any situation, it is all up to you. We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control what we think and believe about them and how we react. What will your choice be?
This month we will be talking about living through uncertainty. Please feel free to talk about how you are living in these uncertain times.