We seem to have hit critical mass. More than any other time during the pandemic people are suffering the effects of isolation: loneliness, depression, anger (domestic violence is up), longing for escape (drug sales are soaring). But if we to choose to, we can do more than just wait out the storm. We can use this time intentionally so that when we finally do come together again, we will have become kinder, more patient, more grateful. May we someday look back and say, “Yes, that was a horrible time, and we’re glad it’s over. But we’re also glad we used it to become better human beings.”
Learn and Grow
- Reading – Isolation makes the world smaller. Books make it even larger than before!
- Writing and journaling – Write about the present, yes, but also write down your memories–in detail. Doing so will free you to revisit those times, places, and people.
“It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.” ~Stephen Fry
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” ~Bell Hook
- Pick up your phone: Text? Sure, but also talk–voices have whole other layers of subtext and feelings; and of course Facetime, Skype and Zoom (yeah, I know, who doesn’t wish they’d invested in Zoom three months ago?).
- Love your pets, and feed the wild birds and other critters looming just out of sight. Humans are more human when they connect with other creatures.
- Rediscover your family – connect on new levels: ask them to tell you their stories, memories, fears, hopes and dreams.
- Pray – God is immune to all viruses, and is always here. Unsure? Tell him about that. And pray for others, too, because…
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main, (hence) any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” ~John Donne
“Most days I wander around feeling invisible.
Like I’m a speck of dust floating in the air
that can only be seen when a shaft of light hits it.”
“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” ~S. Kelley Harrell
Make Yourself–and the World–Better
“How will we ever survive this if we can’t survive each other?” ~Rory Power
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.” ~Goethe