Pandemic Crisis and Our Search for Meaning

Updated on July 28, 2020
janshares profile image

Janis is a licensed professional counselor in Washington, DC. Areas of specialty include grief, loss, life transition, and trauma recovery.

Historic Global Pandemic Impacts Humanity

The coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has swept through and literally taken over the world.
The coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has swept through and literally taken over the world. | Source

Eyes Wide Open

During an online sermon at the Washington National Cathedral in the nation's capital, The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, challenged her viewers with an exercise in spiritual introspection. In her message, Bishop Budde had us explore how the entrance of the coronavirus into our lives had impacted and changed our perceptions, and revealed our vulnerabilities.

Referencing Ephesians 5:8-14 and John 9:1-17, she asked us to ponder how fear and our distorted vision had been blinding us to our ability to see things around us. Now that our eyes have been opened by the presence of COVID-19, we can attempt to hone our attentiveness to what we may have missed in ourselves and in our communities. These new perspectives will give rise to new heights of meaning and vision.

"We are meant to pay attention to legitimate fears, yet they need not be the only lens through which we see and thus, the sole driver of our lives."

~Bishop Mariann Budde

I Was Blind But Now I See

As I listened to Bishop Budde preach her meditative, very moving and thought-provoking sermon, I embraced the challenge to explore. Riveted by her captivating delivery, I immediately began journaling on my smartphone. I started a list of all the things that came to my mind's eye as I assessed how this deadly virus gave me clarity on things I hadn't paid much attention to before. I looked at myself, my own vulnerabilities, as well as the behavior, character, and humanity of others.

Below are 30 revelations I discovered on my journey of introspection and observation during a most surreal time of housebound isolation. After studying my list, I realized they fell loosely within five topical areas:

  • Nature
  • Observing Behavior
  • Humanity and Compassion
  • Self-Awareness
  • Spiritual Awakening

I share these personal journal entries with you in hopes that you will participate in the exercise and share some of your revelations in the comments section below. I am, hereby, opening a space for all of us to be vulnerable as we heal from this crisis and gain new perspectives with better clarity.

Isolation Leads to Introspection

Millions of people around the world were forced to isolate themselves for days and weeks to prevent community spread of the virus.
Millions of people around the world were forced to isolate themselves for days and weeks to prevent community spread of the virus. | Source

Nature

  • The sun seems so much brighter and feels better than I remember when I haven't been out in a couple days.
  • Human beings, regardless of nationality or ethnicity, are all biologically the same when it comes to vulnerability to disease.
  • Signs of springtime are popping up in my backyard even as death is happening at alarming rates.
  • Life, in all its forms, really does go on.
  • The feeling of time passing by swiftly or slowly is all relative.
  • The brain must have some type of muscle memory for routine. It's hard for me to function even with a schedule right in front of me, forgetting important stuff.
  • My fingertips still shrivel up after a long sit in the bath, when I have no particular place to rush to or to be.

Observing Behavior

  • People don't pay attention to important details about what's going on around them or in the world, when they are consumed by their own existence.
  • The ego is an impermeable shield, preventing penetration of reality and common sense.
  • People try to divert attention elsewhere, not because they are out of touch, but because they might be afraid or anxious, and in need of distractions.
  • Greed is a character trait not necessarily driven by fear, or need, nor depravity; greed is greed.
  • There are a lot of sad, angry, hurting, cynical people in the world revealed primarily on social media.
  • People still take advantage of situations if they can, even in the midst of a crisis.
  • Even with entire communities facing tragedy, human behavior does not change that much - - unless touched directly by said crisis.

Humanity and Compassion

  • Like teachers, journalists are one of the most under-appreciated, hardest working groups of public servants in the world.
  • Parents really are superheroes.
  • People really do have huge hearts and limitless capacities to help each other; this capacity increases exponentially during crises and unfortunately decreases on regular days when routines return.
  • Healthcare professionals, particularly physicians, nurses and EMTs, are some of the most selfless human beings on the planet, literally putting their lives on the line to care for and save others. They've elevated the cliché, "I will die for you."

Spiritual Contemplation and Study

The global pandemic had many researching similar historical events and bible scripture to make sense of what was happening.
The global pandemic had many researching similar historical events and bible scripture to make sense of what was happening. | Source

Self-Awareness

  • I have more than enough; I have what I need today.
  • Self-awareness increases on every level during a crisis.
  • I am vulnerable to anxiety which manifests into physical symptoms, even if I seem okay on the surface.
  • My rabbit hole of fear is just as present as the next person's; we are all subject to being afraid of that over which we have no control.
  • I'm finding solace in this COVID-19 shelter-in-place. I love being in my sweats, taking my time as I work from home, without make-up, not having to figure out what I will wear.

Spiritual Awakening

  • If I go deep inside and connect with Spirit, I can overcome any outer negativity that blocks me from feeling at peace, no matter what is going on; prayer works.
  • I am able to make more sacrifices than I realize.
  • We don't take seriously enough that tomorrow is not promised.
  • Afternoon bubble baths are quite beautiful. The bright sun shines through the window, hitting and reflecting colors on the bubbles from one angle, then placing shadows on the wall at another.
  • My father doesn't listen to me about staying home, not because he doesn't understand the seriousness of COVID-19; it's because at 96, he's not afraid of anything and feels protected by strong faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • The notion, (now harsh reality) of dying alone has taken on a whole new meaning with gut-wrenching implications, from diagnosis to death, minus the universal rituals of saying goodbye.
  • COVID-19 is a teacher.

"How we live now will be determined in large measure by what we see, what is revealed to us, and what we're willing to face - - eyes wide open."

~Bishop Mariann Budde

New Vision for the World

The impact of the coronavirus on our lives has caused every human being to see through new eyes. This horrible global tragedy has given us a fresh perspective on how we see each other and how we view ourselves. Priorities have shifted. What was deemed important is not so much anymore.

The things we had taken for granted have been elevated to higher levels of significance. We can better distinguish between our wants and our needs. We will now value differently what it means to be in close proximity and physically touch each other.

As your eyes begin to open wider through your own self-examination, see how much of this can transfer to a wider opening of your heart. If we could all maintain the shifts we've experienced during this challenging period in our history, and learn from the hard lessons, the world could truly and literally be a better place.


[Janis Leslie Evans is the Outreach Co-chair at St. George's Episcopal Church, DC]

Bishop Budde's Sermon

© 2020 Janis Leslie Evans

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      6 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you very much.

    • profile image

      bhattuc 

      6 weeks ago

      Very nice points. Well presented.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      I appreciate that Ms. Dora. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Absolutely, Vihaan. There's no way we can ever see things the same. Hopefully, there will be change for the better. Thanks for reading, appreciate the comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for sharing your insights and reflections on the preacher's presentation. These days we have much opportunity to think about what is really important in our lives. Your article is a good read.

    • vihaan-gupta profile image

      Vihaan Gupta 

      5 months ago from Pune

      Living a couple of months under the coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot - citizens and politicians alike. The biggest take away, I would say, is to never take even the basic utilities you receive, for granted - and also that the "...government, and only the government holds the power and reach, to do good in times of turmoil; corporations will either shun away, or start acting out of malice" - sanjeev nanda. It doesn't really matter what state of mind we had been before this catastrophe, when we come out on the other side, we will have a changed outlook moving forward - or at least we can hope to.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, Rianna, for your comments and visit. Thanks for reading.

    • Rianna S profile image

      Rianna S 

      5 months ago from Canada

      This pandemic has been eye opening on human nature and things we take for granted, like the sun. Your words were wise and appreciated

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Very kind of you, Aishatu. Thank you very much.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, John. She is a gem. You stay safe and healthy, too.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for your kind words and keen observation. She is a wonderful leader of our church, full of love and light. I appreciate your visit as always, manatita.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      5 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Manatita is right - your article is meaningful and eloquent.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      5 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Jan. I can see how Bishop Budde’s sermon about Covid-19 and our changed perceptions offered you clarity. You well-written article has done the same. Stay safe.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      5 months ago from london

      Your writing is eloquent and meaningful. Perhaps you were listening to this inspirational speaker. Her demeanour and persona is full of Light and she seems very much in control. Praise be!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)