It’s Monday, a day often dreaded, that many of us would be heading to the office or ushering the kids out the door after a weekend of playdates, errands, and Sunday brunch with friends. Instead, you might find yourself having to adjust your routine and settle into a new normal. As we contend with school closures, social distancing, and quarantines, we’re being called to change our lives in drastic ways, most of which, we never imagined.
Whether you’ve been blessed with more free time or are having to dial back on work responsibilities to home-school your kids, you might be feeling anxious, restless, giddy, relaxed, or all of the above. You might be reading, working out, playing games, and catching up with old friends more. You might be praying, journaling, and going for walks each day, activities that were once merely aspirational. You might be sitting in silence each night and reminding yourself that we’re all in this together, returning to the familiar mantra, “One day at a time.”
The ripples being created as we become increasingly homebound are diverse and far-reaching: ripples of fear, ripples of gratitude, ripples of kindness, ripples of compassion, ripples of loss, ripples of sadness, ripples of anger, ripples of mercy, and ripples of peace. For as many as we witness, there are those that remain invisible, stories that have not yet been told and those we’ll never know.
Your story right now might be one of loss and letting go or one of opportunity and connection. You might be stuck in one chapter, eager to get to the next, or perhaps you’re languishing in the unexpected tranquility of the pages before you. You might be scrambling to piece together a coherent story at a time when the headlines can change at a moment’s notice and solace must be sought in isolation.
Your story, however it unfolds, is one that was almost never written. It’s certainly not one you expected to tell. But how many of our stories are? If you examine them closely, our stories shed light on the powerful forces for good that are at work, on the mystery that binds us together, and on the prevailing capacity for light in the midst of darkness.
We are learning how to take better care of ourselves and look out for others, even from a distance. We are building our resilience in the face of tremendous upheaval. We are recognizing our limits and finding ways to overcome them. We are fostering community with thousands across the globe through virtual prayer, meditation, and giving circles. We are extending gratitude to those whose service may otherwise go unacknowledged, like postal workers, grocery clerks, pharmacists, and delivery drivers. We are discovering more about ourselves and how we respond to change, paving the way for those who rely on our example and follow our guidance.
What story do you want your life to tell over the coming weeks and months? One of adaptation, surely, but that’s only the beginning. As you navigate the great uncertainty that surrounds us, be mindful of the opportunities that are but almost weren’t. Develop new self-care practices. Relish your extra time with loved ones. Find meaning in the mundane. Finish an old project. Give what you’re able. Connect where you can. In the midst of unparalleled fear, seek hope.