Discovery: the greatest gift of this peculiar time IS time. When I don’t have to set my day by other people’s demands and schedules (& my expectations) there is a freedom and more time. I am doing work from home, and that means I can get up, make my bed, have my coffee, talk with my husband and then wash my face and put on something clean and begin work. Without having to decide on something to wear, possibly need to iron it, try to remember the last time I wore it (was it just last week?), put on make-up, fix my hair, grab something for lunch, core and apple to eat on the way, then drive to an office, engage in polite chit-chat – all of that combined is probably 1-2 hours at least. Another 30-40 mins. to drive home – and that doesn’t begin to account for the numerous interruptions throughout the day (which sometimes result in great creativity and sometimes feels like a complete waste of time).
I love my office. I really enjoy interacting with my colleagues and co-workers during the day – those things I miss. The slower pace, lunch with my husband, so grateful to have a person to touch & hug during this strange time – All of this makes me keenly aware of those who do not have a work-from-home situation and so may be without paid employment and therefore may be anxious and even terrified; those who live alone who may feel extremely isolated by “social distancing” (trying to touch base with those folks) the domino effect of all of this can be overwhelming and so the intentional time to pray has become even more important to me.
In Islam the practice is to pray 5 times a day. For a long time I set an alarm on my phone to periodically go off with chimes and a label that read –“Smile, Breathe, Be grateful.” When I realized that it was starting to be more intrusive than helpful I stopped. I have now chosen five times a day for that alarm and that label to happen on my phone. Sometimes when it goes off I utilize some of the prayers I have appreciated on FB or some scriptures that are meaningful to me and sometimes I just breathe a quick “thank you” and sometimes I do just what the label says – “Smile, Breathe, Be Grateful.”
We can’t help but be a little “me” focused during this time, but at the same time touching someone is only as far away as our phones. We do not need to (and should not be) physically reaching out but we can let people know that we are thinking about them. Times are strange right now, but in that strangeness something new and totally unexpected has the opportunity to take root. Expect the unexpected – isn’t that what Easter is all about?