Sometimes I don’t see spiritual gifts as when they are presented to me. Sheltering in place has been difficult. Boredom and monotony are my companions. However, it never occurred to me that even things I don’t like nor enjoy can be spiritual gifts in disguise! That boredom is actually good for us, even when it’s painful to endure. Monotony and boredom are actually spiritual gifts if we are willing to see them as such.
I am struggling more than I thought I would. I didn’t want to admit that I am as bored, lonely, and sometimes even frightened during this time. And it’s not just the internal struggle, either – the “If or when am I going to get this virus.” But also, “what if things take a bad turn for our society and too many people become desperate. How can we sustain?”
From these scary thoughts, I have done a lot of writing and a lot of soul searching. I’ve been seeking to figure out what this whole period of time is trying to teach us. I have come to a few conclusions:
First, that the boredom I’m feeling means I have had to slow down and stop running. Not running is not my normal modus operandi because I am a runner. Meaning, I like to fill up my life with distraction and busy-ness. I am not someone who usually seeks solitude and quiet. However, this forced period of quietude has given me the ability to reimagine my old ideas about my soul. What was I running from?
Second, I have learned to embrace the monotony. Order and routine is built into our society. Humans are designed to look for and recognize patterns. Without my daily routine, I have lost the stimulation of pattern building. So, now my routine is very simple which results in lost brain activity. Studies show this to be the case as well! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/us/quarantine-mental-health-gender.html
So, if you’re feeling foggy you’re normal! (That doesn’t provide much comfort, does it?)
Third, the loneliness has been harder than I thought it would be. I am a people person. I am an extrovert and love the stimulation and positive feedback I get from being with others. Therefore, only having my family around can get arduous at times. Even Zoom, as good as it is to have some ability to ‘connect’ with others, is a far cry from being with others. (Did you ever feel empty after a Zoom call? That’s a real thing too!
Here are the takeaways I have learned from this experience:
- I don’t have to run away and fill my life with busy-ness. (Why did it take a pandemic to teach me this? I’m not sure!) Just as our lives can be too cluttered with stuff, we can become too cluttered with stimulation as well. This has been my opportunity to embrace quietude and silence as a spiritual discipline. To unclutter my mind and focus on simplicity and greater silence in my soul.
- I have had to rebuild my own internal routine. Instead of going to the gym, I have built walking and stretching into my day to stay in shape. Instead of focusing on the usual forms of exercise, I have changed my routine. Biking with my children, while not as vigorous as a treadmill, is still a fine way to stay in shape. And, oh, I get to make more memories with my kids!
- Finally, I am not a human doing. I’m a human being. Right now, just being is all that is asked of me. Anything else is just me pressuring myself and my soul.
Is anyone else struggling and if you’d be willing to share how you’re coping with this in-between time