This is the third day of the new discipline to practice social distancing. It is a time of uncertainty, some confusing and anxiety. But it might also be a time with its own gifts, if we take a spiritual perspective. I found a wonderful interview online with Sr. Mary Catherine Perry. She is a cloistered nun at a convent in Summit New Jersey. Twenty-nine years ago she chose social distancing when she decided to join a convent and omit her world to the 8 acres where she lives with 17 other nuns. Now these women all felt called to come together in a life that is separate from the rest of the world. They decided to join a cloister because they believed in the power of a community of prayer to bring them true happiness.
Look at Sr. Mary Catherine’s face. Hers is the face of someone at peace. It is the face of someone who has found joy. In an interview for reporter who posted on NJ.com, Sr. Mary Catherine talked about the benefits of social distancing and how to turn this period of national sequester into a time of personal growth. She believes that we can all find a deeper peace in the coming weeks. It won’t happen automatically. It will take a new perspective. Here is Sr. Mary Catherine’s advice based on almost three decades (29 years) of social distancing experience. I have taken her three points and added some of my own ideas. Establish Structure. We humans thrive on a schedule. Often the schedules are imposed by the demands of our lives. Schedules give our lives order. The first sign that someone is dangerously depressed is that they give up their schedule. Nuns have a strict schedule - with balanced lives full of time to work, worship, pray, be social together, be outside. Sr. Mary Catherine advises us to make a new schedule for ourselves and stick to it. Our happiness and emotional health will depend on creating structure.
Be intentional. There is a lot we cannot control. But there is a lot we can control. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of this virus. Your health may depend on your ability to keep your spirits up. Be creative. Play games. Get to know the people around you in new ways.
Love others . Think of things you can do for other people. Call the elderly. Cook meals together as a family, or if you are healthy for a neighbor in need.
Discover Peace or re-discover peace. Some people need a vacation to rest and relax after their vacations. Part of the reason this is so is that they cannot relax. We will be forced to have a simpler, less stimulating life for several months, probably. We can fight it or learn the lessons of peacefulness that are seeded in it.
I don’t pretend that this will be an easy challenge for any of us. But I do think it holds the promise of something new. I do believe that there are gifts in all adversity. Be well and many blessings, Susan Announcements Stay connected to the church this week. Watch the Facebook or Website to find services. Wednesday at 6:15 - - Prayers for Peace - Taize candlelight service Join us online Sunday at 11 a.m. Worship in the sanctuary. Join us online.