A Time of Surprise for an Introvert
By S. Jean Miller
New ways to live and relate because of the COVID-19 pandemic were necessary but still a surprise. Don’t go here, or there, to other floors or parts of the compound, or to the chapel, the dining room, etc.
I must say that I am enjoying doing the things I like to do without cramming them in to a schedule. Yes, I have time to read good books, do jigsaw puzzles, and to take long walks to experience the beauty of spring’s budding. I have tried watercolor painting in various times in my life with a few lessons but now I can enjoy good teachers helping me with watercolor and acrylics. I admit that I like watercolor best because I think it helps my eight on the Enneagram let go of control. The paint goes where it wants and most times it is better than my determination. Therefore, sometimes I like the painting better when I lean it against the wall in my room and see it many times a day.
I have used my phone or computer more than usual to call friends from former days – people I worked with in other countries or places in the U.S. I kept hearing about the seriousness of the virus in Italy and wondered about Villa Nazareth in Rome and our former students. I was able to get an update on them. A friend in Nicaragua has been updating me on the situation in that country. I have been able to find webinars from my justice ministry especially related to climate change and what we could do as we come out of the pandemic. Nuns on the Bus phone calls each month have given me life as well as calls to my Sisters to encourage them while living alone or with compromised health.
The various things I have learned throughout life and what this pandemic is revealing to us make me feel optimistic that we might come out of this wiser and more likely to make the changes needed for a more just, ecological and moral country. The Earth is having a bit of a rest from us now, and while I mourn the lives lost, I believe they gifted us with important insights for the future.
What about the part of my life that really matters? Well, I have my gift of quiet time from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. when the sun is slowly showing beauty. Also, I am most grateful to Sisters Marty Dermody and Terry Thorman and others making the 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. prayer services possible so that we can virtually be together. Really it feels most days that all of the above is prayer.
The Motherhouse and Mother Margaret Hall staff work so hard to make sure we are spending this time in healthy ways and I am grateful. What didn’t I do with this time? I had plans of cleaning out papers, going through tapes, CDs, ironing some blouses. It just seems that having had a life of trying to extrovert, this instead has been a time to find myself as introvert.