Take a close look at this photograph. It is a picture of you and I right now, drifting in suspended animation without an umbilical cord. You guessed it. I am talking about how we all feel as we “shelter in place” during a scary pandemic with no end in sight.
Turn back the clock six months ago. Imagine someone had told you that churches, restaurants, offices, schools, the NBA, NHL, MLB, international flights….all shut down. Cities streets look deserted like, well, the lunar surface. All because of a microscopic virus that looks like a styrofoam Christmas ball stuck with red markers. Six months ago you would have responded, what planet are you from lady?
In case you haven’t noticed, we are all on that planet now. All of us are in this together. Unless we band together and cooperate, many people will die because of our selfishness or because of our stubbornness, not willing to face the facts that a deadly, highly contagious, invisible alien has invaded planet earth.
No longer do we have our security blankets that tell us all is right with the world. The local coffee shop is closed. We can’t watch our favorite baseball player foul off a pitch and spit in the dirt. We can’t go to a movie theater and forget about it all. Heck, even pubs were closed on St. Patrick’s Day.
Msgr. Charles Pope, a man much wiser than most people I know, wrote some zingers that we should remember:
- Life is hard. All of our creature comforts have led us to believe that life should always be peachy. We become outraged at the slightest suffering, inconvenience, or delay. Suffering and difficulty are part of life; they should be expected. Acceptance of this fact creates a strange kind of peace.
- Your life is not about you. If you want to make God chuckle tell Him your plans. If you really want to give him a belly laugh, tell Him His plans. Humbly accepting that our life is not simply about us is a freeing truth.
- You are not in control. Control is something of an illusion. Thinking that we can control things leads us to think that we must control them. This in turn leads to great anxiety and often anger as well.
- You are not that important. This one hurts. We often think that the whole world revolves around us. We must yield to others whose needs are more crucial than our own.
- You are going to die. We get all worked up about what the world dishes out, but just take a walk in a cemetery. Those folks were all worked up too. Get ready to meet God. So many people spend their lives clowning around and goofing off, ignoring our most urgent priority. Our life simplifies and we don’t take this world too seriously because we understand that it is passing away. There is great peace and freedom in accepting this.