Corona Virus Reflection
I have been asked to write some words about this strange and frightening time dictated by the corona virus. What can I say that is not being said on social media and on the evening news? Wash your hands. Practice “social distancing.” Hold your loved ones close. Keep a regular routine. But a few recommendations do come to mind:
Allow yourself to grieve. This is a planetary crisis. People are suffering and people are dying. Our blue earth is struggling to breathe, to survive. Do not pretend that everything is okay – it isn’t. If we pretend, if we deny, if we avoid, the pain embeds itself in our bodies and darkens our souls. Let yourself cry, let yourself rage – allow yourself to feel what you feel. Light a votive candle for those who are suffering. And then, go outdoors for a walk; cook a good meal; sing your favorite songs; connect with a loved one.
Find creative outlets. Keep a journal, do some art (“artistic ability” not required), play with clay, write a poem, write a song, read your favorite literature out loud.
Celebrate. (But wait, didn’t I just recommend grieving?) We also need to find ways to celebrate what is good and beautiful in our world and in our lives. Have a “Zoom” cocktail hour or dinner with friends, set a festive table for your family and make your favorite foods, laugh and be silly together. Glory in the coming green of spring.
Reach out. Try to find someone who needs you – such as an elderly person who is isolated during this time – and do what you can.
It is strange to be considering our own mortality. Perhaps because I am in that “vulnerable category,” I have been doing some reflecting. Oddly enough, what I have found is that I am “good to go.” This is not what I want, of course. But I have been considering my life. I have had my share of sadness and loss, but I have had such joy! I have had music, and laughter; I have rejoiced in the great round of the seasons; I have delighted in a baby’s first laugh, the warmth of a lover’s embrace, the gifts of family … the list of great blessings is endless. I am filled at times with a sweet and almost unbearable joy. And this gratitude is not related to my accomplishments – all the things that at one time I thought were so essential are, in the words of Thomas Aquinas, “straw.”
One final suggestion: on a clear night, go out and look at the stars. If you can, drive out beyond the city lights. You may find, (in the words of one of my favorite pieces of music, “Sure on this Shining Night”), that you may “weep for wonder!”
Lisa Whitlow, M.A., D.Min., has maintained a private practice for 30 years as a depth-oriented counselor and spiritual mentor. Dr. Whitlow is a frequent speaker for the Friends of Jung, and has led retreats and workshops in Kansas City, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.