I was working at my kitchen table recently when a spring storm blew in with an impressive display of rain and wind. For all its bravado, the storm was short lived, and in its wake came stillness—the proverbial calm after the storm. I looked out my patio doors, and the almost eerie serenity brought to mind the above Bible verse.
I often call on this verse to calm me—to still me—during life’s metaphorical storms. But on that morning of social distancing, an irony occurred to me: What happens when stillness creates the storm?
How do we respond when we’re cut off—stilled—from our day-to-day routines and activities? From our physical interactions with friends and co-workers? When these disconnects occur, maybe the challenge becomes one of coping successfully with the stillness forced upon us.
Below are some lessons I’ve learned or suggestions I’ve gleaned from others during this time of enforced stillness:
- Embrace it. Don’t rush to fill the downtime with alternate activities. After a week with the grandsons, I can fully appreciate the havoc closing schools has wreaked upon households with school-aged children. Of all the advice I’ve read concerning coping with this disruption, I think the wisest has been to chill. No, you don’t want your kiddos’ brains turning to rice pudding, but neither should you feel pressured to provide a never-ending supply of fun, stimulating, mind-enhancing activities. Maybe this is a good time to let kids beThis advice goes for adults as well. No sooner had we gone into social distancing mode than I received numerous notices about online meetings. I’m grateful for the technology that has allowed us to remain connected and have taken advantage of it in many instances. But when I began stressing about arranging times and figuring ways to “attend” these meetings, I came to a decision: Don’t. I decided to use this time to refresh, read, write, learn, catch up on things I’ve been putting off. When the Covid-19 threat has been contained, the world will still go on and no one will care if I missed a ZOOM meeting.
- Girl, in addition to your hands, wash your face…your hair….
- Keep in contact with friends and family. Social media is fine for casual/virtual friends, but that doesn’t replace personal phone calls and messaging to those who are closest to us.
- And speaking of social media, don’t overdo it. I happen to think it’s a great social outlet for times like this, but keep the time spent with that community in moderation.
- Keep moving. This might appear contradictory to embracing
- Last and most importantly, in the turmoil of the enforced stillness, carve out time to establish genuine, inner stillness. And during that time don’t forget to reflect on the second part of the Psalm—“… know that I am God.” The ultimate goal of being still is to be in community with God and to know—yes, know—He exists and He is in control.
If you have suggestions for coping with the present "stillness," I'd love to hear them. Please share in the comments below or on Facebook.