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Pestilence and fear reverberate around us like a scary Hitchcock movie. There is evil in 2020 and compounded by a whopper worldwide virus.  But that’s not the main event. Not at all.  For thousands of generations, over hundreds of centuries, a great tapestry is being woven. Can we act from the tendrils of this beauty?

Spirit is weaving this majestic tapestry especially during crisis. It’s kinda unbelievable. Quakers are part of the world’s weaving. We, bright beings, are weaving along with the Great Mystery, or the Holy One, the Creatrix, One Love. There’s evil, sure. And we transform it with the power of love. Evil is morally reprehensible, it is greed in the midst of hospitals crushed; it’s pipelines for the rich; it’s bailouts for banks when children lack clean water. Let the Words of My Mouth and the Meditations of my Heart, be Acceptable in Thy Sight. Oh, the Light![1]

Journal Writings

March 22 — Every day is a new reality of others suffering, while my body is rolled up safe in a cocoon. We are asked voluntarily to ‘shelter in place’. Staying home requires more spiritual discipline than a quarantine. Quakers aren’t good at following imposed rules.

March 27 — For two weeks I’m sheltering at home. No parks are open, so I run by the Quinibecquin River[2]. If I can’t physically be with people, I give thanks for the birds flying, chattering, calling. Animals have more habitat space now that humans have receded into dens. Forcing myself inside, I appreciate new joys. I love watching the trees in dialog with the sky. See the amazing billowing clouds. Thank you Divine One.

March 29 — I can isolate myself physically from humans for two months… with difficulty. I’m chicken. I’m more of a Rosie the Riveter than an Anne Frank.  I still want control of my actions, my comings and goings. Why? I feel childish and whiny. Physically I will stay safe, but emotionally I fight the social control. I’m a Quaker from Maryland, raised a fragrant Southern belle pruning the broad magnolias; and converted into a fierce Yankee clipper ship, with a stiff upper lip during rough seas. How am I now asked to surrender? I pray using Rex Amblers’ Experiments in the Light[3].

In this practice of praying, Ambler asks us to form a specific query. So here goes, “Will I break the social code when someone is sick and needs me to change the bedpans?”

In an epidemic confining myself is surely protection of the masses. Would God require me to break human law, our safety code? For instance, I don’t like being a war tax resister. I feel God asks me every paycheck to break the law. I do not pay taxes that feed the war machine. I don’t know how God wants the militarism/racism/avarice of the Pentagon to change. But I know I can’t participate in it. I agree not to spread the virus, but I may choose to expose myself to care for a pregnant friend, or my octogenarian mother. At this point I would leave the cocoon to nurse my Mom sheltered in Maryland.

We may never know God’s will for us in the times of COVID. I ask for my feet to be guided as I walk in the dark. Even though our path is unknown, we still can receive guidance. I emblazon that fact inside me. That’s the warp of the tapestry.

April 3 — I fight loudly with my spouse about how to help each other when sick. I accuse him of ignoring the reality of the Co Virus. He accuses me of panicking. I’m angry and afraid. After riotous words, I calm down and apologize. Fear of COVID is real, but I won’t act out of fear.

I listen to heartbeats, and breath. I limit my diet of the news, Trump’s tirades. I listen to Al Jazeera, alternative news. I focus on breath… I start sending a daily report to my far-flung family which includes a photo of ordinary encounters.

April 9 —  I begin other habits, other mantras. I roll my shoulders back and adjust my backbone. I take snippets from yoga: long back, heart open to sun, hands sweep the sky. I invent my litany. I write what I’m grateful for in my diary. Thankfulness of the littlest things is the weft of the tapestry.  I thank the tea bag, the facemask, the flush of the toilet. YES. With gratitude my eyes can suddenly see Beauty being woven. Am I grateful for a new reality? Does the pandemic offer new paths away from humanity’s acquisitive fever?

I yearn, even crave, being outside. It’s freezing, sping daffodils bob in the wind. I find little-known places to run and explore. I dislike the phrase, ‘I love nature.’ Humans treat trees and fields like toys they adore. NO. COVID-19 asks humans to treat ecosystems with respect. We, right here, in the tapestry woven. We are practicing communion.

[1] The Song by the Rivers of Babylon, references the Psalm 19:14 NIV
[2] This is original name of Charles River in Massachusetts land
[3] Ambler, Rex