I have now been in quarantine twice since this pandemic began. Neither of these times has been because I was sick, rather they have been because I was exposed to someone who later learned that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Both times I have had to learn a new practice of stillness, which is not easy for me.
I have never been someone who sits still very well. I have a strong preference for being busy, for moving, for getting things done.
But quarantine means that I can’t go anywhere or do anything outside of my house, and I can only clean and vacuum for so long, there are only so many weeds I can pull and eventually I just have to sit still.
I’ve been grateful that we have been able to adapt much of our work so that we can continue to connect, pray, have meetings, and work together from home — but still this requires a level of sitting still, that I don’t usually have to do.
Before this all began, most people that I know wore busy-ness like a badge. When asked how we were, we would respond with: “Busy.”
I make sure that the words silence and stillness, are in the 5:30pm bulletin each week because I think it is something that many of us need. I often tell people that our liturgies and church are where we come to rehearse as Christians, how we want to be in the world. Silence and stillness are important, they are the opposite of “busy” and maybe because I am not good at them, they feel harder.
This pandemic has forced a level of silence and stillness that we are not accustomed to and that stands in direct opposition to consume. When we are quiet and when we stop moving, we can see what is around us and listen to ourselves, listen to God, to our breath, to the birds, to the other people moving around us and we have the opportunity to notice what is happening in our bodies, in our hearts and in our surroundings.
It’s a practice I have become reluctantly grateful for and while I do not want to be in quarantine again and I would be very happy for the pandemic to be over, I am ok with not being “busy” anymore. I think that this new way that I am learning, to be quiet and still (although I am still not very good at them) might serve me better in practicing how I want to follow Jesus.
I wonder if there is something that you have taken on in this time that you too are learning to be grateful for?