While complexities of life in a pandemic have brought fear, loss, grief, and pain, I have heard from so many that their lives have slowed down in a way that allows them to live more intentionally, more intimately, and more simply.
I have also heard from many whose lives have been fraught with competing priorities, the frustration of getting used to life lived an entirely new way with the same set of responsibilities, the reality of being pulled in many directions and feeling overwhelmed. The fear of losing a job or getting sick. Caring for our loved ones who are sick. The isolation felt by people who live alone.
Quakers also interpret simplicity as an elimination of distractions so we can be fully present in our relationships. This presence has allowed us to care for each other during this time. We bring meals, we check in on Zoom, we text each other, we rally support. We donate food and money if we are able. We form pods and help each other out when we are overwhelmed.
Over the past year our lives have turned inward in some ways. Less time spent cultivating myriad acquaintances, more time invested in strengthening relationships in our home or with the one or two families in our pod. Less time spent shuttling between activities all over town, and more time invested in home-based fun. We have spent more time being present, caring for each other when we are overwhelmed, and asking for help when we are struggling.
This simplicity has been on my mind lately. The world is beginning to feel more open again. As exciting as this may be, I can almost feel the pace of our pre-pandemic life winding up again.
It is my sincere hope that we can hold on to some of the simplicity we may have stumbled upon over this last year and decide to live that simplicity more intentionally. The simplicity that allows us to have stronger relationships, care for each other, and ask for help if we need it.
So as we settle into summer I hope you and yours have the opportunity to continue deepening your relationships with those you’ve drawn close to you over the last year. I hope you choose your commitments with an intention that allows you to fully appreciate and thoroughly enjoy the uses of your family’s time. I hope that we are all keenly present for each other so that we can care for each other as our way of living changes yet again.
This simplicity can serve us well, through the pandemic and beyond.