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March 13, 2020

As the world has slowed down in this almost eerie experience that the marvelous Sister Jenna calls “a global pause,” I’m having a most precious experience: a couple of days with my daughter, India. These are pictures of her through the years, one who she is now, one when she was a teenager, one when she was a little girl and we were visiting Egypt. Friends and family are so important now. The coronavirus is reminding all of us to savor what we have, to go deep at a moment when we’re not as free to go wide. And that’s a lesson in this sorrow. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said that “Every problem in the world stems from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” We are being forced to be quieter than usual, and hopefully even in our fear and sadness we will discover some deeper wisdom. God knows there’s a lot of it to discover now – about ourselves, about our country, and about our world. More than anything, what are we doing with our lives? Not how long will they be, but how meaningful will they be? And who that we love could we love a little better, a little deeper, a little less selfishly? These are the questions which emerge in the quiet, that remind me of this line from Rilke: “Let me not squander the hour of my pain.”

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