What We’ve Learned from Lockdown, Part 1

To “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” As the grim tragedy of US deaths tops 59,000, thoughtful people can only pause, enter into that enormous pain with all the empathy we can muster. Our reflection and prayer can wrap those who suffer in the vast compassion of God.

Paradoxically at the same time, we try to lift the morale of those in quarantine: with parodies and cartoons, zooms, postcards, donations, music, notes, food, phone calls, because joy is also an essential part of being human, especially at this saddest of times

To identify the real miracles: not some wishful fantasy, “it’ll be gone by April,” but the consistent care of medical professionals, cleaning people, homeless advocates, bus drivers and garbage collectors, grocery store staffs, delivery people and food bank workers who take daily risks to maintain the fabric of life

To delight in the tiniest flowers and newly planted blades of lettuce

To listen to leaders with “gravitas,” intelligence and a keen sense of a tough situation, like Govs. Newsom and Cuomo, Dr. Fauci, Queen Elizabeth and the PM of New Zealand

To understand we’re not the first in history to cope with pandemics, relating to what Alexander Pushkin told a friend in 1831: “Hey, look: gloom is worse than cholera, one kills only the body, the other kills the soul”

To plunge into frequent “forest baths,” which the Japanese have discovered offset too many hours working in cubicles. A large draught of green rejuvenates, the tree canopy filled with light and song

To rediscover the treasure of bookshelves at home—so many forgotten goodies waiting—and find new stimuli on-line

To speak a language we didn’t know two months ago: flattening the curve, abundance of caution, herd immunity, PPE, social distancing

To cheer the arrival of Navy hospital ships in Los Angeles and New York City, the deliveries of ventilators and making of masks, the researchers at work on vaccines and the volunteers who’ll bravely test them

As with hiking, we may think we’ve reached a summit, but there are more plateaus, mountains beyond mountains… Stay tuned.


See “Everyday Resurrections” by Kathy Coffey in April issue of St. Anthony Messenger: https://blog.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit/everyday-resurrections-a-meditation-on-easter

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