Coronavirus: isolation

I woke up this morning to an oddly familiar feeling. The feeling of, “Well, there’s not a lot I can do today… or tomorrow… or the next day…” Last time I had that feeling, I was facing 9 months of very limited activity due to cancer treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy). My work had effectively been cancelled overnight, along with many of my usual social engagements.

There are many similarities between that time and this. Now, nearly all my work has been cancelled overnight (having just gone self employed in January that’s a scary prospect, income wise). My housemate has gone around spraying all the door handles with detergent again. And we’ve reverted to being very wary about inviting anyone else into our house, trying to keep ourselves uninfected (this time more so we don’t get the virus and inadvertently pass it onto anyone more vulnerable).

When I was having cancer treatment, my immune system took a thrashing, and any little infection like a cold or anything could have killed me. I think now, four years on, my immune system has mostly recovered, although perhaps it will never be quite as good as it once was. I feel acutely aware of the level of threat this virus poses to people like cancer patients and the elderly, and anyone with serious underlying health issues.

In our household, our initial thoughts have been that it’s probably important to keep some simple routines at a time when so much is up in the air. So although I felt tempted this morning to just give in and stay in bed, I didn’t, but got up. One thing that helped motivate me was the fact that we have a little prayer/meditation time on weekday mornings together, just for half an hour. It’s a time to sit quietly together, light a candle, listen to a good thought for the day (we’re currently using Sister Wendy Beckett’s Art of Lent along with reading through the “sermon on the mount” from Matthew 5-7 in the Bible) and we pray for people in need too.

Although there’s much that is challenging about this situation, maybe it’s an opportunity, too? I wonder whether we can find better, more humane rhythms to live by, which may bless the earth rather than thoughtlessly destroying it quite so much? And whether we might invent new ways to be kind in this season? Or just put the old ways into action more…?

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