Hey friends, I hope this finds you healthy, positive, and not stir crazy! As you can imagine, thanks to COVID19, I’m rattling around my 500 square foot Greenwich Village studio apartment in a Corona Quarantine stupor! (#StayHomeChallenge)
Things here in Manhattan are truly, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The sun is out, it is a beautiful, picturesque day — the ones we New Yorkers salivate for in the dead of winter — and yet the city is a ghost town. People are all holed up inside, fending off the coronavirus by sheer will. The bars and restaurants are closed, shops dark. The only things open are the fearless bodegas, grocery stores and pharmacies. Taxis are all vacant. Buses empty. There wasn’t even one person on the ferry from New Jersey I saw come in.
I’ve gone running every day, and even then – the only people out are walking their dogs, many in face masks.
But the most eerie thing of all, is that all of the churches are closed. Which for many is an unperceived effect of COVID19, but for someone who has literally never missed Catholic Mass in my entire existence – (except for once in Iceland) – I really felt the extent of this quarantine, as I watched a livestream of a random mass in North Dakota from the comfort of my couch in PJ’s.
And that got me thinking a lot about this whole pandemic.
I think the whole “why” question is on everyone’s mind. Like… why is this happening? How did we get here? How is it possible in the 21st century that we are not sufficiently prepared for a pandemic of sorts?
Especially here in America, the attitude is almost arrogance…How can a virus bring us to our knees like this? We’re Americans, damnit!
I mean, I’m guilty of it too! This week I’ve found myself annoyed that the only way we can control this novel virus is by literally locking ourselves away from the world!
But sitting on the couch, longing to be at an actual church, I realized how much I missed God. Maybe it was the foreignness of the priest’s North Dakota accent, maybe it was the fact that I’ve been social distancing for almost a week straight, or maybe it was because I was feeling scared and anxious about this whole ordeal, but my need for God has never been more.
I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty lax in my relationship with God in the last several months. He’s been Someone that I just visit on Sunday at church, maybe a little prayer here and there. But with the fast pace of life, and my own -admittedly- often selfish existence, I’ve given God the backseat.
And I was thinking about it, and the times in my life when I’ve been the closest to God, were when my world was crumbling around me. During my recovery from anorexia…where I literally had to rebuild my life, I clung to Jesus. To go from 78 pounds, terrified of food, trapped in a destitute existence – to where I am today as a healthy and thriving young woman…I depended on Him every single step of the way. Every terrifying moment at inpatient. Every morsel of food I was petrified to eat. He was my strength and my rock. And I wouldn’t have my recovery without Him.
And then during my mother’s stroke, watching my dad carry her lifeless body, praying that she would live, He was there for me too, in a powerful, tangible way.
It took those dire tragedies to truly solidify my relationship with Christ in a life changing way.
The truth of the matter is that He is always there for us, but pretentiously, it took a life-or-death moment of need, for me to really earnestly turn to Him.
And only looking back now, from a state of hindsight and perspective, can I see the silver lining in all of that, and be grateful for the lessons I had to learn the hard way.
But sitting there watching Mass on a frigging laptop, I thought to myself, how cruel of a joke, that at this time of fear and uncertainty, we can’t even go to church.
Part of me wonders if there’s any shred of truth in that? That maybe this is being allowed as a way to bring people back to God?
Not that God is causing Corona. Or that this is some rathful exercise by a jealous God. No, not at all.
But I wonder if this is going to be the “recovery/stroke/dire moment” for a lot of people, that brings God back into the picture.
Because, let’s face it. The world has all but left God behind. And I’m guilty of falling prey to busyness and self-focus, and convenience, too. I mean, my faith life recently has been checking off a to-do list item on Sunday, along with laundry, meal prep, and changing the sheets.
We’ve created an existence where we don’t need God: We’ve “mastered” science. Have access to every possession or comfort in this world. We want for nothing. Take nature for granted. Food, shelter, running water, clothing, technology — we are incredibly comfortable, and seemingly masters of our own universe.
Coronavirus is a wake up call that we are not in control.
That’s why you’ve got people buying enough toilet paper to supply a small army: it is something one can control.
But toilet paper isn’t the answer.
It’s recognizing Who’s jurisdiction we are actually under.
Look, I’m not saying that this is something that prayer itself is going to change, or that if we all “come to Jesus” that Corona is going to *poof* disappear.
No. I believe in God and I believe in science. Wash hands. Social distance. Get a successful vaccine circulating.
BUT. I also pray that this is a wake up call to people — myself definitely included — that we are not God. God is God, and He is ultimately in control.
And I pray that one day, when we all are, God willing, on the other side of this – healthy, happy, and with an economy that didn’t crumble – we can look back and say, that was the moment that solidified my faith. That when the chips were down, I found strength in the One who is in control. Not in my ability to stock up on canned goods and toilet paper.
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