As society slows, what can we learn? Is there something we can glean and grow from? … maybe even something that is — dare I say — potentially good?
Something amid this latest version of March madness, perhaps?
Allow me to first and foremost acknowledge that the scope of this virus is sobering; we need to take prudent and practical precautions. Let me also say that no wise one would wish it on anyone; such would negate any consideration as wise.
That said, what could result in what is potentially good?
Allow me a semi-humble stab… in question form, of course… only the following five…
Q#1: Can I better learn the rhythms of rest?
The wisest people I know have learned the unforced rhythms of rest. They intentionally pause, stop, or take a sabbath. They purposely slow down, believing it makes them better, sounder and more effective. Oprah, Roger Federer, Peter Scazzero… each speaks passionately about the need for intentional rest. With a slow down of society and encouraged self-quarantines, this may be a prudent new practice.
Q#2: Do I need to become a little more empathetic?
The impact of COVID-19 affects each of us differently. With the increased cancellations, each of us will be hurt somewhere. Me? I have two sons’ high school and college graduations that are now in jeopardy; suffice it to say, they — we — are/were very much looking forward to them. So as I recognize my own disappointment, I find it still wise to bear with each other’s burdens; consider another’s plight no better nor worse than our own. A tough but wise word would be to avoid any comparison. There is always someone who has it easier… and always someone who has it worse.
Q#3: Is this an opportunity to grow more in my faith?
No doubt the most challenging times of my life have also been the places I’ve grown the most. And most of that growth has been in finding authentic hope — and learning to plant my trust in that. What is life without hope? The more I’ve learned that I am not in control, will never be in control, and am actually incapable of being in control, the more I’ve surrendered my want and will to the great big God of the universe. Life is not about me. No personal practice has been more helpful or hopeful. And no pursuit has provided more lasting peace. What, for each of us, no less, has sometimes stood in the way? That is a raw, honest, fantastic question.
Q#4: Where can we as a society prioritize most what we have in common?
Oh, my… we are such a divisive culture. We humans are so good at creating deep, polarizing, permanent divisive parameters! Do you recognize, in regard to COVID-19, that we all want the same thing? That we want no one more to succumb to this sickness? That’s Republicans, Democrats, white, black, brown, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, etc. etc. alike?? That is the biggest bottom line. Hence, to cheer about any individual identity or smaller unifier is lesser. Focus on the big. Focus on what we have in common. Focus on what means more.
And Q#5: Where can we become more creative?
This question comes to me from my articulate friend, Mary, who has done some fantastic work on this issue, professionally advising many across the globe. She is convinced that our current scenario will pave the way to more creativity and innovation. Will we be a part of those that embrace creativity? She suggests that first, we have to learn to embrace our constraints…
“… Do not become a victim to your constraints.
If you find yourself saying things like ‘now we can’t…’ or ‘poor us…’ you need to be careful, because you are on your way to becoming a victim to your constraints.
When we let ourselves become victim to our constraints, we limit any chance of moving forward. The goal is not to be a victim, but rather to use those constraints to make us more creative in the way we solve our problems.”
She then encourages us to “ask inspiring questions”… How can we do this better? … differently? … more effectively? … efficiently? … or more?
Maybe like the five above.
Keep embracing this moment, friends. Maximize the learning, humbly aware that even in madness, there can be some sort of good.