Holiness in our Midst: Session 103

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: Are there “positive” outcomes in your life from the pandemic? Name some changes (or one) you would like to take into life after The Lockdown. 

Covid “Positives.” No, I have not tested positive for the virus. I coined the term Covid “Positives” to refer to the good things that have come out of this dark time. The deaths, economic and financial losses, and relationship setbacks are real enough. But I have also experienced shifts in perspective that have offered healing and hope for my future. Is this true for you, too?

Here are some Lessons from The Lockdown that I want to take into the coming era of eased restrictions:

Lesson 1: A Resolution to Limit Choices. Suddenly, a year ago, life as I knew it stopped cold. No more coffee shop breakfasts, in-person worship church services, or library hangout days. Rising prices meant fewer trips just for the fun of it, like going to the grocery store several times a week or cruising the Iowa countryside daily (joy-driving I call it). At first, I was wandering around like a lost puppy. But after a period of wrenching withdrawal, I discovered that some of these activities had been distractions from getting to the tasks at hand each day: cleaning house, advancing writing, completing volunteer assignments, focusing on relationships, being rested for work. Now, as opportunities open back up to resume my former free-wheeling lifestyle, I am vowing to stop and think about priorities, particularly before I spend money. As examples, my religious life must remain a focus, but restaurant visits can be reserved for special occasions. Above all, I no longer take any of these common places and meaningful activities for granted. They have, in fact, become sacred.

Lesson 2: A New Gratitude for Face-to-Face Gatherings. Creating events in both vocational and volunteer roles has brought me great joy. I have thrived on planning and actively participating in conferences, retreats, workshops, church programs, and book forums. For them to be relegated to “Zoom” formats is something I have experienced as extreme loss. I look forward to the day when the exchange of ideas and presentation of entertainment can happen in person again, complete with handshakes and hugs. I will no longer assume that we will always be able to look one another in the eye. It took a lockdown to name the indescribable value of “togetherness” and presence.

Lesson 3: A Heightened Appreciation for the Little Gifts Each Day. This unprecedented moment in time has offered a free crash course in seeing more acutely the little daily gifts outside my window —birds in flight, leaves changing with the season, children playing with abandon. I vow not to lose this ability to look for and celebrate the miracles along my path when life speeds up once more.

Lesson 4: A Conviction to Practice Discernment. Social media sites have become a substitute for real social life during this Covid year. We have come to rely on the Internet for shopping and entertainment. More channels are out there disseminating news. Unfortunately, with all our new choices, bad actors are exploiting the vulnerable with disinformation and misinformation. A new daily need has emerged to discern whether what we see and hear is truthful. What interests are represented by what we are being offered or told? I now ask myself that each hour. I simply trust that I can bring that discernment to life after The Lockdown.

Lesson 5: A Heightened Understanding of Earth’s and My Own Fragility. The pandemic has been like a long Sabbath rest for the Earth, my environment-conscious friends say. That is all to the good. But can I continue to keep our Planet in mind as my choices become more conscious? I hope so. Similarly, I am aware that my year has had a Sabbatical quality to it. I have survived, along with my immediate family members. In response, I trust that I will use my time remaining on Earth to treat the gift of life with the preciousness it deserves. 



  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, write about both Covid “Positives’ and Covid “Negatives” for you. Which of the two wins out? Why?


  1.   Read aloud Session CIII.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt. 

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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