In the Grace of the World

The counties in the Bay Area where I live issued a “shelter at home” order on Monday, making it mandatory for folks to stay home (except for essential work) to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

For me, this means that I’m working from home, because

  1. my job is non-essential (i.e. not a grocery store, medical or anything like that)
  2. and, as an editor, I can work from home (not everybody has the kind of job where that’s possible).

I’m fortunate to be able to work from home and that working from home is going well for me. I’m able to get my work done in my pajamas, while taking breaks to walk around the house, make tea, read a bit from a book, or go for a run — depending on how my time is playing out.

For some people, the shelter at home order is delivering a large amount of stress. Some folks are out of work and not earning any money in the interim, some are able to continue working from home, but are miserable. People have been panic buying certain goods, making some essentials scarce. And parents are faced with trying to teach their children who are out of school and feeling overwhelmed. All of this on top of worry about the spread of the virus itself.

It’s a stressful time to exist in.

I found a few thoughtful posts over the past couple of days that have soothed me. I’m sharing them here, in case they’ll do the same for you.

“Coronavirus Anxiety and the Practice of Sitting in Uncertainty” by Lisa Marie Basile:

Finding peace and stillness in the midst of chaos is a challenge, but it’s one that we must meet. We can choose to spend the entire day in worry — and it would not be invalid if we did. Our finances, our health, and our stability are at risk. But we can also choose to take back a few minutes for ourselves, to sit in silence, to just be alive, to just surround ourselves with the things that bring us pleasure and joy.

“Normality: it’s not a thing” by Ann E. Michael:

Looking back at the past couple of years, it seems we live in a time of plague and fire and politically difficult situations; but that’s the way the world has ever been. Many times have felt like end times to those enduring the uncertainties that come with changed routines and dangerous events, natural and human-created. Here we are, raking the garden, hoping there’ll be harvest.

“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.