Here we are one day into the mandated “shelter in place” restriction to stem the tide of the Covid-19 virus. Each of us have our feelings and thoughts about these restrictions, some are light like the blue sky and clouds overhead, or dark like the darkness on a moonless night. Realistically we are home bound and yet not homebound because it is possible for us to go to the grocery store, the gas station and the bank. We can walk outside and view the beautiful trees in bloom, the flowering plants, giving us signs of spring. We can wash our hands and keep others safe. We can be ourselves.
Even though my dad moved from a four-bedroom house to a small studio apartment eleven years ago he loved to sit in the courtyard and soak up the sun, or we would take him to a nearby lake park to walk and sit watching the water fowl swimming in the lake. He so much appreciated those walks. Unlike the man in today’s Gospel we are not blind, we are not sightless. We can see the wonders of God’s creation and reflect on how doing our part may slow the spread of this virus where fear can unfortunately make people blind to other’s needs, draw out unnecessary fears and then lose life’s balance and perspective as sadly this virus can take some people’s lives.
I, myself, am going to try and look at these weeks as a time of retreat, praying, reflecting, reading, cleaning my office, purging and getting some things done that I hardly ever do or say “I’ll get around to that.”. Maybe that is an unrealistic expectation, but looking for reasonable goals and modest expectations can soften the time we spend alone.
I am also finding that the phone, texts and emails are a valued part of my life right now as together we face these challenges. Alone it may seem daunting, but together we can stand by and stand with each other and keep in mind so many people in prayer. Who is on your prayer list? Who do you remember each day? Who do you connect with each day?
Let us pray for the health care workers, for their families, for first responders, for all those who are trying to make a difference, for those who are at risk and those who are sick. Let us pray for all those who are now working from home, working outside of their offices or workplaces. Let us pray for each other, asking God to embrace us with light, peace, and calm as we move forward every day. Let us pray in gratitude for our health, for all that God gives to us and understand that God is the source of all life. Jesus is the Light of the World. The Holy Spirit is our very breath. We do have so much to be grateful for.
I’ve thought about making a thirty-day retreat, but felt that it was too long, too difficult, that my schedule wouldn’t permit it. Well, now I have no excuse because my routine has been upended, some things taken away, and now I have the time to sit and be quiet as hard as that is, and be in God’s presence.
The letter to the Ephesians in this weekend’s liturgy calls us from darkness into the light: “Live like those who are home in the daylight.” Jesus touches the blind man’s eyes and he sees. The “Light of the World changes things. He did for me. I hope that Christ has done or will do that for you.
Finally, besides fasting and almsgiving, in Lent we are invited to pray…to remember…to be and live for others.