It is seriously funny that animals and birds roam free while we humans sit in cages.

What is the Earth telling us?

I haven’t the faintest idea. But I do sense the whisper of the Divine Presence with this pandemic.

Some of us are being called back home to the love from which we came. The rest of us have a compulsory retreat in which we need to come home to ourselves.

We are all being called to be real.

Physically and financially, this retreat is sometimes challenging. Spiritually, socially, it is full of gift.

The first thing we noticed in lock-down, was that the pressure was off. Suddenly life was about being instead of doing. We couldn’t even make short term plans.

The lack of pressure took some getting used to. Lock-down had brought a new kind of freedom. We couldn’t quite name it. But we look in the mirror, smile and say, “Hello friend! Nice to know you!”

Suddenly, our external environment was peaceful.  No rushing traffic, no exhaust fumes! No clatter, whine or roar of progress! Just bird song and the laughter of children next door.

Out walking, I can taste the air as I inhale it.  It offers a full diet of wet moss, fallen leaves,  lavender flowers, acorns, all of it untainted by carbon emissions.

The loveliest gift – one with an element of surprise  – is how close people have become in separation. A trip to the supermarket is like a family reunion in a car park, voices calling from different points of the compass.

Then there are the phone calls, emails, social networks online. Everywhere there seems to be a positive, pulsing network of connection.

We turn on the TV. Here too, the atmosphere has cleared. The news is full of heart matters. We hear positive information, empathy, sympathy, hope and more hope.

What happened to the war stories? Where is the usual division, scandal and gossip that passes for news?

Gone, it seems.

Has Covid-19 united the world?

All this takes us deeper on our enforced retreat.

We know that every light has a shadow. So does every shadow have a light?

We saw the light that flooded this country after the terrible darkness of the Christchurch massacre.

So what spiritual healing will come in the wake of this pandemic? How will we grow as individuals and a country?

Again, I don’t know. I only know that it will happen and we will have a new “normal.”

We pray that this change will be global.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.
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