The Nature of the Beast

I haven’t said much about COVID-19 here because, honestly, it is mentioned practically everywhere, but I am going to take a moment to speak briefly about the virus.

This I personally know to be true:

It is stubborn. It is pervasive. It does not discriminate. It is an opportunist. It is multi-faceted. It is mysterious. It sucks. When we go out for groceries or for errands, no one, and I mean no one gets a text from a loved one or friend saying “don’t forget to pick up a virus while you are out.”

It’s not on our ‘to do’ list either. ‘clean the office, do laundry, pick up virus.’ The virus that found me was left behind by someone and it sat there just waiting for a host. Maybe it jumped on my hand, or found my clothes, but somehow, it found me, and if I am not careful, it will try to find someone else. Why? Bottom line…It is the nature of the beast.

Now, not everyone thinks this virus is a big deal. It is shocking, but some believe it isn’t real. Many people don’t socially distance themselves or wear masks when around people. Heck, we all know that person who isn’t even in the habit of washing their hands. Why? Bottom line…It is the nature of the beast.

The big buzz word out there lately is “self-care”. In order to be of any benefit to family, friends and colleagues, we have to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. While that makes perfect sense, self-care often comes with the temptation to only see things in a manner that is relevant to ourselves. That sounds perfectly natural, right? But when something bigger than our individual selves comes along, it may benefit us to look at the bigger picture first. I like to think of this as “other-care” This virus is big; it is bigger than our individual selves. Heck, this virus is global. This is a fact. Period.

I won’t lie. I have been experiencing a constellation of emotions along with the various symptoms. The one that bothers me the most is anger. This emotion grows deep roots; I would go so far as to say it has tentacles. I felt it trying to take up residence in my heart and it scared me. I spent one particular day sitting, praying, reading and writing. I turned to one of my favorite mystics, St. John of the Cross. In ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ he writes of the journey to become closer to God. He does so by starting out with an honest to goodness, no holds barred, sit down, pay attention and follow along look at the 7 deadly sins; the first of which is Pride. And that, my friends, did not resonate with me at first. Until I sat, and prayed and wrote some more. Then it clicked. Pride was at the root of my emotions. It is my pride that had me convinced people should do what I believed was right. They should act a certain way and follow the rules. If they didn’t, then I got angry. That is my pride. We are all individuals with the God given gift of free will. I will exercise mine, and by the same token, I need to accept the fact that others will do the same. This self-reflection was liberating for me. It started to loosen those tentacles of anger that tethered me and I began to feel lighter and more at peace. It was self-care on a deep and personal level. The virus knocked me on my keister, but my pride had the power to cause me the most harm. I love God, I love the ocean I love the weather, but I also have a healthy respect for their power. I can now add the power of this virus to that list.

Oh, I plan to exercise “self-care” by wearing my mask, social distancing and washing my hands, and by doing so, I will be practicing “other-care”.

There are no memes with this post, no cartoons or irreverent potty humor. I’m just not feeling it right now. I know you will understand because you are a supportive and lovely bunch of coconuts.

Be well, practice self-care and while you are at it, throw in a measure of other-care; it will do the world good.

Love to you all.

ReginaMary