First of all, human beings and solitary confinement are natural enemies. We’re relational beings. It’s a cruel punishment. When in doubt, consider how we’ve felt with minor constrictions after just a few months. Imagine enduring years of solitary confinement. For sure, this pandemic reminds us to pray for those who are in prison or homeless or keep solitary watch for the sake of others.
However, for most of us, we’re confined by mandates and masks, for our good and the good of others. But I wonder, What if confinement works as refinement? What if these hours and months count for something more than surviving this pandemic, which is no small matter?
To be refined according to the dictionary is ” the process of removing impurities, unwanted elements from a substance”, like systemic racism from our country. It’s also a process of “improvement by making small changes.” Well, there’s plenty in myself, this condo and our country that needs removing or improving. My hair is exhibit A.
As much as I long for some aspects of life before the pandemic, I don’t want to miss today because I’m stuck in yesterday. Nor, do I want to yellow-tape my world, or bubble-wrap myself and those I love out of fear. That’s a dis-ease worse than Covid-19.
Sometimes I feel like Anne of Green Gables when she said, “I am well in body but considerably rumpled in spirit.” I get rumpled for probably many of the same reasons you do, like remembering the best of what was and fearing the worst of what could be. These are understandable thoughts but unhealthy to dwell on. It’s a challenge and an act of faith to balance reality and hope. We need both.
Try this. “I told my suitcases there will be no vacation this year. Now I am dealing with emotional baggage.”(Thanks, Annie.)
Anyone still reading?
Back to solitary refinement. While the concept is promising, I’m not wild about the process. Refinement is so every day and uncomfortable. But someone once said, “Many of the most exciting things in life are on the other side of the uncomfortable.”
Let’s hope and act so.
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