Many places in the world are starting to open back up after weeks of isolation, at least partially. In Hungary, Budapest is being opened a little slower than the rest of the country.
I know this question of opening, and how soon everything should open is a loaded one, so let me just put my cards on the table: I am thinking this is going to last much longer than what people think (Till the end of the year or longer. Things will probably open up but, but start closing down again). The one caveat to this would be if a vaccine comes along that will help with opening things back up. If you think differently, that is okay, we can disagree—life is fun like that.
But whichever way you fall moving forward, most of us have had time in this quarantine to digest things that are interesting, useful, mind numbing or mind opening.
There is a long list of mind numbing things everyone is talking about that I too have enjoyed: Tiger King, some of the late night hosts doing their shows from home, John Krasinski (both in The Office and his YouTube show Some Good News), etc. There are others I also enjoy that do not get much of a mention.
Setting aside the mind numbing, there have also been a lot of good things I’ve enjoyed that have been enriching and helped with the processing of this time.
For the last several weeks, I have had thin layer of worry that seems to sit on everything. Amanda and I talk about how in “The Weirds”—our name for the pandemic time taken from the Staying in with Emily and Kumail podcast—our emotions seem to be sitting closer to the surface and are more ready to come out.
One of the processes that has been helpful with the worry is from an Instagram page called @coffeewithsaints. People who know me well know I have a lot of respect for the high church history of the past and the mothers and fathers of the faith. This quote from St. Paul of the Cross popped up on the page:
“Meditation on Jesus Christ Crucified is a precious balm which sweetens all our pains.“
-St. Paul of the Cross
This, paired with an article from early on in The Weirds, “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To,” By N.T. Wright, have been causing me to think more about what am I spending time thinking about, or as St. Paul says, what am I meditating on.
What this mediation looks like for me is a mixture of things: reading, breath prayers, writing liturgy, and listening to podcasts. Reading through the Psalms right now has been incredibly life–giving and has been teaching me how to pray in this season. Psalms that have brought me comfort are Psalm 2, 5, 12, 16, & 22 (I am still early on, so if there are other helpful ones to read, please share them).
Music has also assisted in this, and the new album by Chris Renzema titled Let the Ground Rest has become the sound of The Weirds for me. In this album, Springtime, Not Finished Yet, and Steal Back Your Joy, have stood out to me.
Some other podcasts that have been helpful are from Church of the City in New York, Bridgetown Church in Portland, The Holy Post, and Theology in the Raw.
It has also been interesting to watch the show Scrubs and think about how the medical system struggles on a day–to–day basis and how much that has been amped up during this time.
Watching, reading, and listening to all of these things has been really helpful, however I have learned that these things only matter if they translate to action. Through this time, one of the biggest ways I have translated my thoughts to action has been trying to post something I am thankful to Instagram every day. While things seem dark, intentionally looking for the light has changed the way my brain has processed this season.
As our area starts to open up more, I am processing what I will carry into “normal.” All of these lessons seem to be ones that could continue to exist outside the walls of our flat. Spending extra time thinking through how I am feeling and extending more grace because life is weird are things I will take with me out of this. Finally, paying more attention to what God is doing and looking for Him in the media I consume might be the best thing I bring with me from all of this.
Take a moment to reflect. What has helped you through this time? What will you carry with you as the world moves forward?
-By Daniel Buck, OMS Hungary Team Member