I am, by nature, an introvert. It seems strange to people who know me well, but like many performers, teachers, and ministers, I need and love alone time in my “cave”…but lately, THIS is a little too much.
“Social (or “Physical” may be a better word) Distancing” is a mixed blessing for those of us who are happy cocooning at home. People like me like the “cave” for a while, but sooner or later it gets old, even for us, even for this short period of time (so far).
I am thankful that I have a comfortable home stocked with food, and things to do…I know there are many who aren’t so fortunate. I am thankful I’m not alone, many are. I’m thankful I have “a tribe”: people in the church, or people in the theatre, who surround me with their creativity, pictures, laughter…all “virtual” but still there…many people have no “tribe” or support. I am thankful that during this time of changed routine, collapsing businesses, and unknown futures I am a child of the one who understands the “now” and knows the “later”. Many others have no such hope.
However, in my thankfulness, the “cave” has become sometimes darker.
Some people suffer from clinical or circumstantial depression…for them, this time becomes steadily more claustrophobic, and dark. I find that even “life events”, good and bad, take on a new “blue-tinged” dark light these days…because I’m so cloistered away. So far, during this time of isolation I have (along with many others) : received sad news, lost some money, unintentionally hurt someone, forgotten a loved-one’s special date, forgotten to call, made mistakes – and though these things should be taken seriously, they are the usual “bumps in the road of life” for all of us, every week. BUT NOW all those things are magnified, amplified, and sensationalized because somehow in the isolated darkness of “the cave” those things seem bigger and louder than usual.
For me, and others, the “cave” that has always been the safe place, the nest, the cocoon, has the possibility to become a deep, dark, trap.
The Psalmist seems to mention this effect: “Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD!” (130:1) is what he says at the beginning of the song. This is, at times, a time of darkness for many…because being alone, listening to one’s own thoughts, and separated from those we love (and even those we barely like) reminds us how much we need each other.
What does the Spirit teach us about these times? I only speak for myself, but my answer came in another small event that appeared larger because of the times: someone contacted me to perform a wedding in September.
Normally, although a fun and joyful event, it would involve me saying “that would be fun, I’d be happy to do it, let me check my calendar” but THIS time, it was as if somewhere outside “the cave” someone set off fireworks. A light came on, and just like a candle in a completely dark room, I was gobsmacked at how much light a single candle can bring, how much distance one can see, and how much perspective it gives to everything else.
God is right; Light is greater than darkness.
I believe these times are…weird. For me, at this moment at least, that’s all they are, weird. I pray it doesn’t get worse than that in our home. For many, however, these times are beyond weird; they are devastating, harmful, desperate, and dark. Those people are a “cave” that is NOT a place of comfort and seclusion, but a dark hole they cannot see, or crawl, out of.
During our “LENT OF SOLITUDE” it is, frankly, not about ME nor is it about YOU, it’s about US…perhaps more than any other recent time. What can I do? What can YOU do, as a member of the Advance Team of the Kingdom of God. I believe what we should do is…share light.
We all have our gifts, but the Light of God is reflected in as many different ways as there are people: music, art, personality…laughter!
It’s time to make sure we are all cared for, first physically, and then we should GIVE LIGHT in every way possible.
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before everyone, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” MATTHEW 5:14-16
And to paraphrase ESTHER 4:14, “…who knows but that you have come here for such a time as this?”
Shine your light.