Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Pay attention to connection
For a lot of folks, work has continued in some form or another. While we are connected professionally, we may be lacking connection personally. Just because we’re on a Zoom call with some colleagues several times a day does not mean we are connected. Find ways to connect that nourish both your mind and spirit that don’t have to do with work.
2. Pay attention to the need to be productive
For other folks, work has not continued. People have found themselves suddenly unemployed or with drastically reduced hours. While that adds a lot of extra stress, some may find themselves with significant time at home. Others can pressure us into learning a new language, reorganizing our whole home or starting a side hustle. Not everyone can function at full-force during a time of crisis. Whether you’ve Marie Kondo-ed your whole house or whether you struggle to remember to shower and eat, you don’t need to feel your most productive during this time. Do what you can, and that will be enough.
3. Pay attention to Easter
In all of this, we are in the midst of the Easter season. Today is Good Friday. Last Sunday I gave a sermon on how we live into Good Friday while having the hope of Easter. It’s pretty difficult. Today is a good day to think about how sadness and death are closer to some of us now in a way that maybe it hasn’t been before. At the same time, our Holy story tells us death does not have the last say. We worship a God who has triumphed over death and who has come out of Good Friday into the brightness and joy of Easter.
4. Pay attention to yourself
As I have mentioned connection, it’s also important that we pay attention to the perils of social isolation during this time. For people who struggle with mental health, socially isolating can be especially difficult. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, the loneliness can start getting to you in ways that need to be addressed. This Washington Post article helps you find out if you are doing OK and what to do if you’re not.
5. Pay attention to having fun
With the COVID-19 news, it seems we can talk of nothing else. When you find yourself obsessing (as I often do), take a break and focus on something completely different. Here’s a 10-minute video of cats being cute to start you off:
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.