Covid-19 and Julian of Norwich

June 30, 2020

Written by Kathleen Taylor-Gadsby

Covid-19 and Julian of Norwich

As I sit here, staring out the window at all of the apartment windows and balconies surrounding apartment 420, I am struck by the enormity of the current pandemic, juxtaposed against the normal, every-day lives we are all trying to live. This pandemic is something so much bigger than any of us…ALL of us. And, yet, we each are an integral part of it. I am no scientist, but I believe that the COVID-19 virus cannot live without us. It relies on our bodies as a not-so-gracious, but available, host.

I wonder, what other unhealthy prey I am hosting today? As I practice social distancing and compliantly wash my hands to two rounds of the Happy Birthday song, what else do I need to quarantine?

Fear? Who isn’t at least a bit afraid right now? I assume no one. However, there is healthy fear and then there is debilitating fear.

How can I choose healthy fear?

  • By staying informed through trustworthy and up-to-date news sources (social media is not considered a trusted news source.)
  • By understanding what precautions may work and how to keep myself from risk
  • Remembering the stories that my parents and grandparents told of wars, the depression, immigration and death; suggesting that, when suffering is shared, it is easier to bear

Where does pride fit in?

  • Is it wrong to think yourself superior because you wear your mask everywhere?
  • Is it similarly short-sighted to blow off all cautionary guidelines?
  • Where do either of these get us?

What happens when I ignore others’ hardship or blame people for causing this pandemic?

  • Our shared vulnerability is broken and, often, it is that very vulnerability that saves us
  • We poison our environment with apathy, finger-pointing and anger
  • We leave the most at-risk to suffer alone

In the coming weeks, I plan to acknowledge my fear, do what I can to mitigate the risks I face, and practice empathy – for myself and for others, whether I can see them or not.

Ultimately? I choose to trust that all will be well.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.       

Julian of Norwich