The Time We Are Given

by Tanya Webster, Director of Religious Exploration

In a blink of an eye, spring has come and gone while we shelter in place. Time seems to speed by, yet I also feel it dragging the toes of its trainers along the pavement, slowing my journey down the road. Days repeat, days blur, days just are. At Blue Boat Chapel, one child summed it up perfectly; “Well, I don’t really have a high, or a low, to share. Everything’s just sort of a middle.”

And so, we wait. And we give thanks – for our loved ones’ health, for the brave and good citizens who show up every day to tend to our ill and to our communities. And we pray – each in our own way with thoughts, reflections, energies, prayers, music, sending love. And we hope – that we come through this time unscathed or at least mendable, that our community comes through these times mendable.

JRR Tolkien wrote these words of wisdom in The Fellowship of the Ring: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with it.”

I’ll bypass the mounds of good advice about using your time during quarantine. I’m guessing you already know “you should” declutter your house and your soul, nourish your family, tend your victory garden, learn a new skill or teach your children, and buff up the sophistication of your tapas talk. You’ve developed must-read lists and queued up your watch list. You’ve noticed you need more sleep to combat the sometimes overwhelming crush of this situation, when your emotions might go up and down, and up, and down. You have found causes to support and ways to help others.

Is this what we can do with the time that is given to us? The activities above are constructive ways to approach sheltering and are certainly valid. However, my advice is to take breaks often from trying to create constant meaning and growth in this time. Be gentle with yourself and others. Perhaps it is enough to JUST BE YOU.

Just be the good person you already are, spreading “pockets of good” in the world by your very nature. Be the clown you are, finding humor and joy around you. Be the practicing yogi of your life, balancing on your sitz bones of resilience and persistence. Be the world citizen you are, modeling to others how to embrace a caring, sane, and sustainable life.

Perhaps it is enough to JUST BE, doing only what needs to be done and what you enjoy. Consider resting and prepare to show up for the critical rebuilding that comes next. When we emerge from our shelters into the community sunshine, BE the steward you are. Help our world grab hold of the silver lining of quarantine and recraft that fabric into a more equitable world, where every person and our planet can thrive. You are what’s needed in the days to come.