I have a file up in the cloud that has a bunch of potential thinkythoughts I can use, sewn together with something timely that’s happened into a well reasoned Lent reflection. They’re grouped by themes: Good Neighbour, Environmental, Ways to Meditate, Media, and so on. Some bits have been there for a decade. Some will never be used. More get added, some get teased out into a bigger thing than they started. Some show potential and then wilt as I try to wrap more around them.
Usually, out and about in my daily dailies, interactions with other people or things I watch happen around me feed the process. But now, in self-isolation, there are fewer interactions. And my universe, in practical terms, has shrunk to the four walls of my house. I rattle around in here and think about what I can say to have a good Spring Cleaning of my soul. I haven’t had the opportunity to get myself in any shenanigans. I haven’t had to control my snark. So what’s a girl to do who’s trying to improve? Let’s consult the oracle, erm, the incubator.
- Eat out less – well, seeing as how restaurant dining rooms are closed, that isn’t an effort.
- Use a reusable travel mug for drive through tea – except for the part where you can’t use reusable right now to protect restaurant services workers. And I shouldn’t be going through the drive through anyway. Worst Roll Up The Rim season ever!
- Go meet a new neighbour. Bake and deliver a treat for an elderly neighbour. Yeah, don’t do that.
- Visit a senior’s residence. Hard nope. You won’t get through the door.
- Donate art supplies to a local school. Except don’t, and they’re not open anyway.
- Buy in bulk and use less plastic. Bulk sections of the grocery store are closed to avoid contamination, and everything that they can wrap in plastic they’re wrapping in plastic – for very good reason.
- Use fewer single-use things. *Looks at the 2 plastic bottles of Clorox wipes*
- Take public transit. I mean, or just stay home?
It feels a little like everything is turned on it’s head. But then, maybe it’s just about perception. Being a good neighbour means staying away right now. Buying less plastic means buying only what you need, and not hoarding.
A friend had a quote posted to his Instagram feed yesterday: In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to. – Dave Hollis.
I could park that in the Reflection Incubator, but it’s kind of time-boxed with Quarantine2020. And it’s an interesting spin. I mean, I think we can all agree that there’s no going back to normal. There’s New Normal. And I don’t think any of us know what that means yet.
But it does present an interesting question. In the words of Bobi Wine, The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim, but the good news is everyone is also a potential solution. So maybe I can’t spend my Lent going Maria Kondo on my kitchen cabinets or my closet. But certainly, it’s more important right now that I’m part of a bigger project. My Doing Good Works obligation is most definitely fulfilled by being part of Team Potential Solution.
- So I wash my hands with hot water and soap and sing 2 lines from Somewhere over the Rainbow (because I won’t melt from the water like the Wicked Witch of the West.)*
*This isn’t to say I didn’t wash my hands before. I maybe just didn’t wait for the water to get warm before I did.
- I text my neighbours when I’m going to the grocery store to see if they need anything. I drop the bag on their porch and they e-transfer the money.
- La Famiglia have Wednesday and Sunday Zoomies set up in lieu of Sunday Soup, and – bonus – my sister and b-i-l call in from Vancouver, and my cousins call from Montreal, and my aunt (who’s on lockdown in her retirement home) calls on the phone and we put her near a speaker. So it’s even better, in some ways, than Sunday Soup. Waaay more inclusive.
Certainly, I miss social dinners, and tea with friends, and swimming at the YMCA. But I’m glad for the actions that everyone is taking to extend a little bit of protection to others. And I hope that kindness becomes New Normal.
May the definition of my effort and the measure of my success be with an eye to the extraordinary circumstances this Lent brings. While we consider what the definition of what Doing Good Works means right now, may I continue to work toward better things.