We continue to be in an unprecedented time. We hear that word a lot, or at least I do, and it has become our new normal: unprecedented, or what has never happened before. We live in this time, now, it is our present. But it is also our past and our future. What is happening now with COVID-19 is new and has forced us to live in ways we never imagined possible. But we have been in unimaginable times before. We know we can live without eating romaine lettuce—been there, done that. We know we can survive with less gasoline for our cars. How could we have ever thought we could live without being in physical presence with each other? And yet we are adapting to this weird state of the world.
We are using this time of physical isolation to reach out to friends, and make phone calls to family we haven’t spoken to in years. We are writing cards and letters. We are re-establishing our connections and strengthening our ties to others. Some of us are even attending Zoom gatherings online. While these are helpful and good, none of these ways of connecting are the same as being in person, looking someone in the eye, and sharing a hug.
And we are suffering because of it. We are fearful when we think about the future before us. We are shown and told about many scary predictions. But we don’t have to think about all of them at once. There are plenty of projections about the future that make us wary and wonder about what will happen in this world we love. Having a plan to move forward is important, but it does not mean we have to dwell on everything that has gone wrong, is going wrong, and might go wrong.
When I was in junior high school, I had a conversation with my mother’s best friend, and I told her that I was having a really bad year. As we talked, and as I shared both my current suffering and my future dreams, she gave me some advice: “Use the good years,” she said, “To make the bad years better.” Find the good in your life and use it to make your hard times less hard.
When you are feeling down, overwhelmed by life and your thoughts, frightened by the news, find a place in your life where there is no fear. Sit in that place for a bit and remember that joy lives in you; fear is only a visitor. Call a friend and chat about nothing. Or call a friend and express your angst. Talk about your feelings together. Remember a time you shared that makes you laugh. Reconnect with the joy of the love in your heart, the laughter in your life. Even if it is just a snippet of a memory, or a sliver of joy, as you acknowledge it each day, it will grow, and it will make the hard times easier.
We are in this together for a reason—to remind each other of the love in our hearts! To remind each other of the love of God reflected in that card, email, text, or phone call. We are here with each other to be the love of God! For our own selves, and for all of those we love. Joy abounds! It does feed your soul. Find your joy, reconnect with that which makes you smile, dance in the Light of the Love of God.
Love changes everything. Nothing changes love, not even fear. “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” Love is here, love is God, God is love, surrounding you now and always.