This post is part of Dominican Center's series Stay in the Light ~ Stories of Prayer and Hope During a Pandemic. At Dominican Center, we believe we are prayer in action, and that connection, contemplation, and creativity will see us through these unsettling times and help us find and be in light. We invite you to share with the Dominican Center community your prayer in action and to feed our souls with that which feeds yours. Read more about the Stay in the Light series here.
by Sandra Mitchell
You’re freaking out,” my kiddo said to me on a call late last week. Though mountains and miles separate us, he knows.
His words were in my head this morning as I woke with anxiety and deep worry chewing at my edges. I realize my kiddo’s statement is fact. I am indeed freaking out.
The world feels dangerous right now - because it is. I’m relieved to be in a state of shelter-in-place (such an interesting phrase), though I remain healthy of body. Except for the sting and discomfort of allergies, I count myself lucky. At least for the moment. China fears food shortages. Italy reports military caravans are transporting coffins to crematoriums. In the States, we scramble for medical supplies and toilet paper. The statewide Stay Home, Stay Safe order was inevitable.
As our freedoms are slowly stripped away in the face of the COVID-19 crisis my anxiety asks if those liberties will ever be restored. The government and media serve up what feels like half-truths, lies by omission. How bad will this be? is the free-floating question that follows me through my days, which remain mostly unchanged as someone who works from home. I’ve noticed, though, that when I allow myself to look up from my work for too long images flash through the whole of my being: Polish ghettos and train rides to Auschwitz; scenes from The Handmaid’s Tale and, oddly, LOST; I see my Native American ancestors as they walk the Trail of Tears.
My marketing work with Dominican Center leads me to write and post hopeful, prayerful messages on social media, and I’m beyond thankful for the task as I search out words and wisdom from past and present contemplatives and poets. It lessens the weird hum in my head and heart.
This morning I chastised myself for reaching first for my phone to consume the news I missed in my fitful night’s sleep. But out of the periphery of my vision, I see that outside my window the sky is awakening and it is showing off. I set my phone aside to watch as the horizon turns from gray to pink and orange, like a bowlful of rainbow sherbet. The puppies sigh and snuggle in a little tighter. I already look forward to my guy returning home from work. I think about making oatmeal raisin cookies. I finally rise to jump on a phone meeting, practice yoga, walk the dogs, write. Time ticks on.
Later, I think about my parents, who feel far away. But they seem calmer than I and assure me they have enough food, and because they don’t really require meds, all is well for the time being. Friends check in from all over and I check on them. It’s an odd, disconnected connection. But, if I close my eyes as we speak and try to just be with the words and light of each person, I do feel a psychic and divine joining of energy. After we give voice to our disconcertion, we laugh, and I feel myself freaking out a little less.
To take part in the Stay in the Light ~ Stories of Prayer and Hope During a Pandemic series, please send your writings and related attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sandra Mitchell is a writer, marketer, and creativity coach. In addition to facilitating contemplative writing circles for the Dominican Center community, she provides Dominican Center with marketing support. For Sandra, her writing and creativity are spiritual practices and enduring paths to light and hope. Learn more about Sandra at www.sandramitchell.online.