In a time of disruption, when the normal patterns of life are bent, we have two choices. One is to use the effort of one’s mind or will to try to make sense of what has gone wrong or try to straighten what is bent. The head wants to return to the prior status quo, where we had spent much time figuring out how to cope with the patterns of life, how to survive and perhaps thrive. Then, when the world goes awry — as with a devastating lab report, or in a hostile takeover of one’s work, or when a virus attacks the world’s human population — our minds go into overdrive trying to make sense again of the reality we perceive.
But there’s another option. Rather than trying to bend the world back to the way it was, the other option is to allow the soul within to inhabit the new reality. To explore what it means to live in that altered world. Being vulnerable to the realities of that altered state, being open to exploring life within it, focusing not on what has been lost but on where God might be present in the new reality. Where mystery might be hiding or at work.
In these days of Covid-19, one sign of perceiving where the Spirit of the Creator is still present is in the way the natural world has been showing signs of healing itself: polluted skies becoming blue, wild creatures roaming pavement that a century ago was their home. With humans pulled back from so much intervention in the world, the forces of nature have more freedom to heal non-human creation. Marvel at that.
Not that I’m deaf to the laments of illness and dying nor to the seriousness of our economic crisis — of course not. But I am rather trying to be open to how God is not absent in our crises. How God is able to renew and restore what has been broken, often in unexpected ways. It gives hope that we can learn something. And hope that God might just be working quietly to heal human life of this and other dis-eases, too.