Spiritual growth during a pandemic

 

Coping with the pandemic can easily feel more stressful with each passing month.

  • The novelty of transacting business via Zoom and of visiting with friends via Skype is long gone. We miss direct human contact with no electronic intermediary.
  • Wearing a mask, washing hands and watching the physical distance between self and others can feel tedious. The temptation to ignore those protocols grows even as the number of reported new cases seems to grow inexorably.
  • We theoretically love (or, depending upon one’s living arrangements, at least like) the other members of our household. Yet, sometimes working and staying at home can start to feel like overexposure. Alternatively, persons who live alone may find their residence too empty with too much loneliness.

Allow the pandemic to invite you to turn inward and to plumb your depths. Here are some questions to guide your  journey:

  • Do you like yourself? If so, why? What are your strengths, gifts and assets? If not, remind yourself that God created you and God does not create junk. Underneath all of the parts you do not like (the junk), what good traits are hidden? Whom do you love? The capacity to love is itself a good gift from God. What good things – large or small – do you? Those good deeds make you into a co-creator with God. For God to partner with a person as a co-creator powerfully affirms a person’s worth and dignity.
  • Where do you experience beauty in the world? In music, visual art, nature, other persons? Reflect on that beauty. Allow the beauty to evoke a sense of awe or mystery. Contemplate that awe or mystery; let it lead you into an ever-deeper mystery. Perhaps in your journey you will encounter that ultimate reality some traditions call God.
  • Tell the story of your life. Listen carefully to the story. What is the central theme(s) of your story? How does that theme(s) shape your journey and toward goal does your story lead you? Few individuals see themselves as simply waiting to die. The story of one’s life is the story that gives one’s life meaning and direction. In solitary telling and retelling of that story, we have an opportunity to refine or to redirect our narrative, more intentionally choosing and shaping the person we wish to be.
  • Whom do you love? Whom do you wish you loved more fully? How can you envision becoming a better lover if those with whom you are intimate and of strangers in need?

Spending tine with those questions will capitalize on the enforced solitude of the pandemic as an opportunity for spiritual growth. However, if the inward exploration of these questions leads primarily to depression, anxiety, substance abuse or other mental health issues, then seek assistance from your physician or a mental health professional.

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