We Are All Connected
April 29, 2020
Another week in shutdown is another week to have a chance to grow spiritually. One definition of spiritually is connecting to something bigger than ourselves that can help us find peace, hope, strength, and enhances our humanity. These days this is an important task as we manage our stress and navigate physical distancing, not social distancing. This pandemic has brought us together in unexpected ways. It has made us more aware of how deeply we are connected to human kind in order to survive. Even the TV commercials have become spiritual in nature. The old commercials were all about the material world. Now they are about gratitude; gratitude for all the essential workers risking their lives so that we may live; gratitude for the new normal of families having more quality time together; and gratitude for a chance to slow down and realize the interlocking nature of human kind as citizens of this world.
Last week I described a short mindful process to help you focus on gratitude instead of on your worries, even if it is only for a few minutes. I asked you to pick an activity and notice everything you could see, touch, and hear so you could become acutely aware of all that you have and add to your gratitude list.
Now I would like to invite you to take this exercise a step further. For example:
We are all grateful for food. I don’t know about you, but until this time, I did not give much thought about all the people that were involved in my enjoying just one meal. Before the pandemic, I might have had a fleeting thought about the farmers who helped get my meal on the table. Now, not only do I think about the farmers, but I also think about the truckers who take the food to the packaging plants. I think about the hard workers at the packaging plants, especially now that so many of them have come down with the virus. I then think about the people who unpack the food and put it on the shelves. And what about the checkout clerks and the many people they are exposed to while doing their job? What if they contract the virus while doing their job, and in turn take it home to their family members? All this risk occurs just so I can have one meal. And in all these thoughts about all these people I find gratitude beyond what I have ever felt before while eating my one meal.
But guess what? It dawned on me to take this exercise a step further. In thinking about the farmers, I started to think about the machines they needed to harvest their food. When I did that, I was reminded of the people who invented those machines to make it easier for me to have a meal. The same goes with the truckers. I now think about the people who made those trucks and maintained those trucks, just so I can have food on the table. I can even go back in history and think about those who were involved in inventing motor vehicles. So not only is my meal connected to the present, it is also connected to the past. If left to my own devises, I could do this for hours. When I do this exercise, I find it is a great way to distract myself from focusing only on me and my problems. When I do this exercise, I am overwhelmed with gratitude at truly how amazing God’s world is because of all the people working together for the better good; and somehow that gives me peace of mind. I hope it does for you are too.
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
In love and peace,
Cass Rulon-Miller, MS, NBCC