I recently read about a single mother who received a four month driving suspension for distracted driving; talking on her phone while driving, two incidences three weeks apart. But because of the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, her suspension will not start yet, leaving her with the ability to drive to the grocery store and pharmacy 20 minutes drive away.
Distracted driving. I find it curious that someone can be fined for this since I have been doing it all my life. Distracted by some great tunes leading to some in-seat dancing, singing and acceleration, a pull over by local police and a ticket. Distracted by infants, children and constant bickering in the back seat. Distracted by my husband pointing out flocks of geese, deer, elk and anything else outside the vehicle while I’m trying to keep my gaze forward. Distracted by my own thoughts as I gaze at the endless roadway lulling me to sleep, or as I blindly scan road and building signs, frantically trying to get off the main road in order to reach my destination. Damn you, Google maps!
Distracted driving is just one small part of distracted living. There is so many distractions around me, it’s a wonder I am ever able to accomplish anything! But like the woman above, the penalty for distracted living has been lifted for time. I now live in world where my distractions are reduced, giving me the opportunity to rediscover the important things while trying my best not to find new distractions.
When this time of shut-in started, I was already registered in an on-line New Testament course. This has proven to be a blessing. For a couple of hours a day, the course keeps me focused on life. Not the life of endless pandemic reports and streaming TV shows, but real life, the one where I will spend in eternity.
Unfortunately, the course will soon end and I will have only my self-motivation to keep me on spiritual track. Without weekly assignments, how can I keep my eyes on Christ and prepare for my own death in this life, whether it’s to be soon during this pandemic or decades later? The Lord has given me this time on earth to prepare for my life in eternity and right now, during this pandemic, so many distractions have been removed from my life, I have to resist replacing them with others.
Playing games and talking on the phone can strengthen my connections to others. Watching shows and reading books can provide an escape from endless bad news. But, ultimately, what I need to do is strengthen my connection with God and I can only do that through prayer. A personal, consistent, structured prayer rule has never been my forte, I am too easily distracted by other ‘important’ things. But now I’ve been blessed with time to set aside a few minutes several times a day to open my prayer book. I just have to chose to do it.
I’m also blessed that this time is coincident with Great Lent, the time when I am supposed to reduce distractions, giving me more time to contemplate my life in Christ while I meditate upon His journey towards martyrdom for all of creation.
I can be blessed if I read through the services of Holy Week, being present with the Lord as He was rejected, imprisoned, beaten, and hung from a cross so I could become as He is.
I can be blessed to read the psalms during vigil on Holy Saturday while waiting for the Lord to rise in glory on Sunday. And even though I can’t do these things in the physical presence of other members of my church, I will be with them spiritually. Even if I’m distracted by many things, Pascha will come. Even if the season doesn’t ‘feel’ right without the ceremonies, Pascha will come. Even though the churches are closed, Pascha will come.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His defeat of death reverberates throughout all of space and time. It is the centre of creation, the fulfillment of God’s plan, now and ever and unto ages of ages.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!