Sing to the Lord a new song
Honolulu is in the midst of its second lockdown / stay at home order. The mayor and state governor gradually lifted the first order when the number of new cases reported per day hovered near zero. They imposed the second order when the number of new cases reported daily spiked to 300 and remained in that range.
In the interim between the two orders people were still directed to practice social distancing, wear masks, and wash or sanitize their hands frequently. Restaurants had to have at least six feet between tables, gatherings of more than ten people were prohibited, etc. Unfortunately, people wearied of loving their neighbors.
After six months of pandemic driven restrictions on heretofore normal patterns of social interaction, I occasionally note that the failure of people in movies or on TV to practice those protocols feels odd to me, as though life has somehow become disjointed. Then I remind myself that what I’m watching was filmed pre-pandemic.
These experiences have prompted two musings.
First, intentionally or unintentionally, aware or unaware, I’m slowly reinventing myself. I’m acquiring new patterns, new ways of seeing the world. I remember that something similar occurred when I lived on an Aleutian island for two years. Returning to the contiguous forty-eight states, rain startled me the first few times. The precipitation was vertical, not horizontal. Out on the island, with an average windspeed, day in and day out, of twenty knots precipitation of any type was invariably horizontal. Likewise, seeing trees caused me to stop and to savor their beauty. On the island, trees averaged about twelve inches of height growing in the tundra. How is the pandemic changing you in ways that you perhaps do not recognize? What adaptations, patterns, thoughts, behaviors have changed in your life as a result of the pandemic and lockdown?
Second, I want to ensure that the new song I’m singing (my altered life) is a song of joy replete with tears and laughter. The tears are easy. I can catalogue what I miss (many in-person social events, e.g.), a feeling that I will in some ways lose a year or two of my life, empathizing with the pain of those who suffer from Covid-19, and grief for those whom the pandemic kills and the bereavement of their loved ones.
Incorporating the laughter is more difficult. I have to look past the tears, past any Covid-19 related stress (including the economic hardship many people face), and discover (or rediscover) reasons to be grateful, moments of humor (for example, it’s easier to laugh than to cry at many political shenanigans and politicians), and examples of human folly (believing that taking the temperature of all who enter and excluding the feverish will allow in only those without the virus when much transmission occurs through asymptomatic, i.e., people without a fever). If pandemic constraints prevent corporate singing, sing in the shower, the bath, or any time you choose.
I refuse to worry about events and forces over which I have no control. Instead, I prefer to expend my time, thoughts, and efforts changing what lies within my power to effect and then striving to savor life with as much gusto as possible.