There has been a myriad of ideas on what to do with the overabundance of so-called “free time” during the stay-at-home orders issued by most states.
Certainly, one can follow the news about the Coronavirus Pandemic closely and follow the guidelines to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. But we also see many people who do not have the luxury of just staying home and waiting it out. They have to get up and go to work and interact with people, some of whom are very sick with the virus or other illnesses.
Some have to contend with people who are frightened or just downright rude. People who are nasty and rude are typically just struggling with fear and insecurity (something we can all relate to).
When we perceive that we are threatened in some way, we can lash out at others out of this fear and insecurity. Our culture and way of life in the USA has been turned upside down and our minds race with many “what ifs”. For example,
I know I would be in a state of panic, yes fraught with fear and insecurity, if I couldn’t be with my Mom if she were ill and dying. I might even get nasty. Who knows and I do not want to find out.
In the last blog I wrote of finding a “routine” which has been comforting and quite frankly very productive. There also continues to be many things written and displayed on social media about how people are utilizing what I will call this “gift of time”.
Some of it is so beautiful, some “just okay”, and some not so much. What we are finding is that our “feet” can take us many places and for example, just taking a regular walk each day and seeing neighbors is quite refreshing. Simple conversation and friendship. And yes, we even horsed around with a couple of grandkids in their front yard while keeping proper social distancing of course! I also got a tremendous “kick out of it” yesterday when my lovely wife, Rita, did a session of “virtual” jazzercise. She has got the moves and how fun is that.
There is a remarkable woman in the Bible named Mary Magdalen who is privileged to be the first one to see the Risen Christ. She discovers that the stone of Christ’s tomb has been rolled away and she goes and tells Peter and John to go see for themselves.
Now, I just want to hit the pause button here so that the reader is not “turned off” by a story about Christ and His Resurrection. Hang in there please, even if you do not believe or are just not sure. This is not an attempt to “force” you to believe. It is about one woman’s journey that all of us can profit from right now whether you “believe” or are just not sure. Stay with it.
Mary Magdalen by all accounts has encountered Christ on several occasions and we find her always at his “feet”. At Bethany, while Martha is bustling about preparing the meal, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to him. When she is at the house of Simon the Leper, the Saturday before the Passion, she breaks a vase of precious ointment and pours it over the feet of Jesus. She is literally bathing Christ’s feet with her tears and wiping his feet with her hair. Lastly, we meet her at the foot of the cross along with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and John the Evangelist. Mary is single-minded in her passion for the Lord and always at his feet.
There is an expression commonly known as the “Seat of Wisdom”. There is so much information and data, and yes, even those who display tremendous knowledge and even insight to the challenges ahead. But we need to seek a “Seat of Wisdom” and sit at the feet of people who are not only trustworthy but humble. They are quiet, serene and willing to listen very carefully to what you have to say.
Mary Magdalen was surrounded by much clamor and a culture probably not much different than ours. People looked to be entertained, sought pleasurable things, and wanted to be noticed. Power, honors, riches, comfort, and pleasure. We all have these desires. Mary Magdalen had them too but as time went on she “purified” her desires and began to deliberately sit at the feet of one who met all of these needs.
Vanity, comparing ourselves to others, or Pride, an overinflated sense of who you are, or Lust, an appetite for the pleasurable things of this world had come and gone for Mary as she passionately sought the one and highest good, God himself in the flesh.
Anything can become an “idol” and waste “idle” time. Some would say pick up a Bible and read it. Good advice. What about sitting each day in silence with your thoughts and begin to sort them out. Identify the insecurities in your life. Examine your weaknesses (mine is very often patience!). Listen and quiet yourself. Feel it in your bones, a peace you cannot imagine.
So read this each morning and just sit with it…
*May today there be peace within.
*May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
*May you not forget the infinite possibilities born of faith.
*May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
*May you be content knowing that you are a Child of God.
*Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
*It is there for each and every one of us.
– The Little Flower of Lisieux