In yet again another lockdown it can be sometimes hard to see the positives in life. I was talking with a friend during it and the comment was made “a lockdown is an introvert’s paradise, but what is it for an extrovert?”
This relays how introverts love their own space and time alone while an extrovert needs people around them to feel energised and lively. Whatever you identify yourself as: an introvert, an extrovert or even a little bit of both, I wonder if this time of lockdown which we experienced from 28th June is a chance to reflect on how God works in our lives.
As I see it simply, this lockdown can have three effects on us:
One, it can be a time of Pain.
Two, it can be a time of Platitude.
Three, it can be a time of Progress.
When our Premier, Hon. Mark McGowan announced a lockdown there was the usual panic and disgruntlement of having to stop our lives. As we bunkered down we saw people rushing to do their food shopping, non-essential shops close, restaurants throw out their food, the West Coast Eagles playing yet another game without a crowd, and the general disappointment circulating in society with people thinking that their lives were going to be put on hold again. This is a natural outcry especially when at the beginning of school holidays there were plenty of families with outdoor plans. Unexpected lockdowns certainly can cause plenty of pain in people’s lives.
The second is Platitude, especially when life’s plans appear to have stalled again and fallen stagnant in lockdown. Unless you’re a person that can organise and schedule their day each and every hour, life can get very stale. Boredom can prevail each day. I came across a definition of boredom as, “when you see life pass you by.” Lockdown can feel a bit like your life is on a platitude. You’re neither going up nor down, you’re simply going nowhere.
A story that comes to mind is the late Cardinal Thuan, a heroic man who spent 13 years in imprisonment, 9 of them in solitary confinement because the communists arrested and imprisoned him when they took over South Vietnam in 1975. In his imprisonment, aka lockdown, Cardinal Thuan did not allow his confinement to stop his relationship with the Lord and he continued to experience spiritual growth. Lying in his small prison cell one day he reflected on the Feast of the Holy Rosary in 1976, “I am happy here, in this cell, where white mushrooms are growing on my sleeping mat, because You [Jesus] are here with me, because You want me to live here with You. I have spoken much in my lifetime: now I speak no more. It’s Your turn to speak to me, Jesus; I am listening to You”
Cardinal Thuan’s example continues to inspire years after his death; that God always turns a bad scenario into good. Let’s allow this time of our own lockdown to be the same, let’s use this time to allow the Lord to speak to us in our own way, in the silence and stillness of lockdown; in the moments where we apparently doing ‘nothing’, let’s aim to listen to the Lord’s voice and grow more and more like Christ.
Fr Joseph Laundy,
Painted depiction of Cardinal Francis-Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận in imprisonment