I read a great article by Gregory Hillis called "We're All Monks Now," which contained a helpful nugget of wisdom for me this week.
" ... it is admittedly difficult to focus on the spiritual life in the midst of the anxiety so many of us feel right now. The monks I spoke with acknowledged this, but at the same time they suggested that we can use this moment to live into and be freed by the realization that there is much we cannot control.
So much of our anxiety revolves around wanting to control the uncontrollable, and the pandemic can teach us the futility of this.
According to Father Mark, we need to be attentive to the present moment and so focus on that which we can control:
'If I can concentrate on being in control of that very small circle of reality that is entrusted to me and in some sense depends on me -- how I use my time, how I take care of myself, how I care for my family and friends, how I daily and hourly turn my concerns over to God -- then my anxiety diminishes.'
I wonder if some of the exhaustion I am experiencing stems from a constant feeling of being out of control,
of being bombarded with anxiety-provoking news about sickness and unemployment and hunger and strife,
most of which I can do nothing about.
I wonder if trying to attend to all of that is futile and what the Bible calls "chasing after the wind."
I wonder if I should shrink my span of concern, while at the same time expanding my circle of prayer?
Focus on what I can control, which is not much.
Practice lifting up to God all that God can control, which is pretty much everything.
I wonder if that is the set of practices called for right now?
Get my face out in that sunshine, support the local Food Bank, check on a neighbor, call my mom, plan a nice dinner, feel the spring breeze on my face, pray for those in need, clean out the kitchen sink, go to bed early in freshly washed sheets ...
Control the tiny bit I can control.
Give to God what is God's.
We're all monks now ...