In the ABC’s “conversation” blog recently, there was an amusing piece about how the Covid-19 pandemic, and in particular, ‘lockdown,’ have spawned an entirely new language, creating words and acronyms that will likely forever remain in the vernacular.
“BCV” for example. Nope, not the ‘Bible College of Victoria.’ (Before Corona Virus). “WFH?” (Working From Home). “Sanny?” Yep. You guessed it. (Hand sanitiser). “Coronamoaner”? (the whingers). “Zoombombing”? (you definitely know that one!).
“Magpied?” (what happened to the toilet paper and pasta?). And of course .. “Iso.”
People invariably turn to humour, don’t they, to deal with things that might otherwise be quite overwhelming. And yet behind the laughs, the hilarious and apparently endless memes, the Tiktok videos and creative home-performances, there is a deep and perhaps even growing restlessness that each one of us, to some degree or other, feels.
Social commentators are already noticing that, here in Victoria, during the first lockdown, there was – for many – almost an element of novelty about the whole thing. Unless of course you lost your job. Or had to work and look after kids. Or run a small business. Or lost someone close to you. Or had to suddenly go … online!
Nonetheless, being locked in, isolated, restricted, and having to come up with new ways of spending time indoors, spawned an endless menu of creative activity, much of which may well end up being entirely positive. Certainly a lot more people know how to make sourdough bread.
The second wave, however, feels different. Anxieties, ambiguities, frustrations; they all somehow feel more amplified this time around. Raw fragility and deep emotion sit just beneath the surface. We are all just hoping, and indeed, praying, that this thing will be over soon, and life will return to some form of ‘normal.’
As I’ve thought about it, though, I wonder if, perhaps, rather than simply ‘waiting this thing’ out, I might actually be able to find deeper joy, and something that might otherwise have been entirely elusive in the frenetic and busy routine that was ‘BCV.’
Perhaps I ought to ask God, what it is that HE might say to me, about how HE might be prompting me, to use this time, the Iso time, not beset by frustration or anxiety, or even anticipation of the end of it all but, actually, with wisdom and humility and a quiet, teachable heart. Perhaps I ought to pray every day, “What are you teaching me, God, about myself, right now? My life? My priorities? My longings? My identity? My values? And the source of my well-being?”
Perhaps, in these days of enforced immobility, we might even happen upon something quite beautiful and surprising; something rare and precious. Something Scripture talks about. A lot. Be Still and know that I am God (PS 46:10).
The stillness, it seems, precedes the knowing. Hmmm.