And, a couple of weeks ago, Failla (pronounced FAY-la) had a few things to say about what’s happening right now.
He calls this the “in-between time.”
I’m not Christian. But every Sunday morning at 10 o’clock, my spouse closes the door to his home office; powers up his laptop and logs onto Zoom, and takes part in a virtual hour-long service led by Failla.
This one time, because I asked, the Hubster shared his notes with me.
Failla has a Master of Arts in Global Leadership from the esteemed Fuller Seminary, and spent years before that as a teacher and community organizer in China. At this service, he compared the uncertainty of COVID-19 to a couple of Biblical events where folks were also “in-between”—forced to give up any semblance of control and expectations they thought they had. One is Exodus, when the Jews wandered for 40 years before finding a home in Israel, and the other is Easter, right after Christ died but before rising from the dead.
Like then, it seems as if we’re neither moving forward nor backward. Even though every state is allowing businesses to reopen, this time is still a waiting game.
But we don’t know exactly what we’re waiting for, or for how long.
At the same time, it’s getting harder to remember what life was like a few months ago.
It’s oddly quaint that at the beginning of this year, most of us left our homes every day, going to work or enjoying a long lunch, shopping with friends or catching a new movie. But the merry skedaddling is gone, and now that the virus has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the United States, hoarding toilet paper and wearing pants with elastic waistbands isn’t as funny as it was a month ago.
Maybe that’s why Failla talked about something else: this “in-between time” can’t be wasted.
So, while recognizing that our days and nights are absolutely scary and difficult and sad and uncertain, Failla has also decided to view the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for reflection.
To this end, Failla created four “What?” questions things to ask ourselves right now. Answering them has helped me recognize my priorities, and might allow others do the same.
Here they are.
What am I happy to be free from?
I hate getting up early.
But most of my career required being a morning riser, and when I lived in New York City, that meant waking up very early since every weekday, I washed and blow dried my hair; applied full makeup, and tugged panty hose on before taking the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
I haven’t done this in decades, but right before the virus hit, I was up most days around 7 a.m.
Twice a week I volunteered at two grammar schools, where I read one-on-one with about a dozen children, most of whom had no one at home to do the same. I also took a morning yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I wasn’t lounging around those mornings. And, a few days before the shelter at home order hit, I registered voters for the first time in front of the town post office. The Friday a.m. shift was the only one open.
I want all of these activities back sooner than later.
For now, though, I’m happy to be free from alarm clocks.
What am I missing?
I’m missing the freedom to be free.
This includes not having to think about running to the market for a few items needed for dinner; strolling through thrift stores and estate sales for vintage cake plates, Pyrex and table clothes, and having my hair professionally cut and colored whenever I want.
I’m missing that my daughter isn’t able to hop on a plane from California, and vice versa.
I’m missing that I can’t drive to the nearest beach to feel the waves on my feet and wriggle my toes in the sand.
Until further notice, that part of the coastline is closed.
Unlike so many, I’m blessed to have a partner to cuddle and hug. But being unable to touch anyone else is
Also, I miss breathing without a mask.
What matters more?
Friends and family have always been important, but now, there’s a greater need, even an ache, to connect with more of them, and more often.
What matters less?
For years, keeping a daily schedule, even in my head, was important because I like having a certain cadence and order to my days. If I didn’t get everything done that I’d planned, I’d berate myself for wasting time.
But time is different now.
While it isn’t easy breaking this old habit, I’m trying to give myself wiggle room if everything on my list doesn’t get done. This means more living in the moment and more appreciating what I do have.
Which “What?” questions are calling to you, and how will you answer them?