The pandemic is proving to be an ongoing crisis, but it's not wasted time.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a crisis for all of us in different ways. And it’s clear that it’s going to take some time before life gets back to any consistent sense of normal. When a crisis doesn’t resolve quickly, stress mounts, and many of us are feeling that stress rear its ugly head again with the latest headlines and recommendations.
At times like this, we can turn to the writings and example of the saints and spiritual masters to help us put our anxieties in perspective and approach our lives with eternity in mind. But there’s also a simple bit of wisdom from Albert Einstein that’s worth taking to heart whenever we find ourselves in a crisis.
Einstein reportedly once said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”
Sounds a bit cliche, but it’s true nonetheless. Opportunity in times of crisis often comes in the form of an invitation — an invitation to question, to examine, and to re-evaluate your life; to go deeper, to surrender more, to love better.
So what opportunities are being offered to you right now? What is God inviting you to consider and act on? Here are four areas to look for answers to those questions:
Your spiritual life
Fear is not of God. In fact, the command to “fear not” and “do not be afraid” was repeated by Jesus in the Gospels over and over again. As Christians we are called to trust and to respond in love to the challenges we face. We find the grace and power to do this through prayer and the sacraments. Now is a good time to ask whether it is time to pray more or pray differently. Maybe God is inviting you to start reading your Bible daily, to pray a Rosary every morning, to spend more time in quiet prayer with Him, or to get to confession. A pandemic is an ideal time to reflect on the Last Things.
Many of us have been deprived of seeing loved ones for a long time. Some of us are experiencing strain in our relationships with family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. It hasn’t been an easy time for relationships. But maybe this is the time to reach out more and build some bridges. Or to ask someone for forgiveness and extend some forgiveness. Maybe it’s time to gently let go of certain friendships and be open to new ones. What opportunities are being offered to you right now when it comes to your relationships?
A lot of people have learned to work from home since the pandemic began, and some prefer never to return to a daily office. Others have lost their jobs and are forced to go in a different direction career-wise. What about you? This may be the ideal time to discern what’s next for you. Is it time to consider a new path or to set new goals? Do you have a dream you’ve been putting off? This may be the time to start something new.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make you think about your health. And we all know that certain habits will keep us healthier and more able to fight any kind of virus that comes our way. This is a good time to make some new commitments related to diet, exercise, getting fresh air and better quality sleep, prioritizing rest and relaxation, and taking time for prayer. And don’t forget your mental health, which is just as important. We have opportunities to strengthen both our bodies and minds, so let’s make sure we seize them!
Turning a crisis into an opportunity often requires us to reframe the situation or to look at it through a different lens. If we approach the ups and downs of the ongoing pandemic with curiosity about what God is asking of us, we may find we have grown in the most important ways when we make it into calmer waters.