The Balance of Life in Quarantine : How to Surrender and Attack

May 19, 2020

A Red Tail Hawk navigating fierce wind using a delicate balance of surrender and attack commanded my attention yesterday. Dipping and diving to cut through the gale force gusts and then cresting at the top, it hovered in limbo at the mercy of the current. I marveled at the beautiful dance created by this bird of prey and its alignment with its environment. There I was, watching from my bathroom window, limited to the walls of my home under the threat of a worldwide novel virus. Quarantined humans across the planet are getting a whole new understanding of confinement, where many of us have known so much freedom. Mesmerized by that hawk, I felt joy for its liberty and yearning to fly along next to it, captivated only by instinct and unfazed by a disease wreaking havoc on the human population.

I have found myself taking note more frequently now of how animals exist in this world, diligently following their programming and living in contentment with the patterns of their role. Cyclically gathering, storing, building, reproducing, migrating…whatever instinct requires of them to thrive for their time here, and pass away when that time is up. Among the animal kingdom, there endures no currency, no concern for markets or economies, no awareness of tiny massive threats that could terminate their lives or lives of loved ones. Their trust innature and their environment coupled with their submission to what is has me desperate to emulate them now. 

I lost count of what day of isolation we are on. Something around 15 maybe? My household consists of five people: myself, my husband, our eldest daughter, middle son, and youngest daughter. We also own five pets: a dog, a cat, a bird, a rabbit, and a gecko. Just imagine the Geico gecko and you’ve got ours in mind. My three year old asked me the other day if her brother and sister were going to go back to school, and why not, when I told her no, not for a while. Explaining that there is a “bad sickness going around so they have to stay home” even felt foreign to say. But being three means you put a lot of faith in the adults in your life, so she accepted my fumbled response and moved on with her day. I recognized the trust and submission in her just as I have in the animal kingdom. She has no idea what this “bad sickness” I speak of is doing, and frankly, she doesn’t care. She knows she is home, safe, with her family to watch out for her. Her environment has proven trustworthy, and her nature is, for the most part, carefree. And here I am again, marveling in the simplistic genius of that. 

None of us in this generation and several before us have charted waters such as these. The information shifts and undulates daily. The old adage “One Day at a Time” has taken on a vastly more powerful meaning for each individual because the changes are so frequent and rapid. Our human race consists of people across nations with a wide array of talents, knowledge, skills, resources, and collaborations that fit us into our niche of the puzzle of humankind. An invisible enemy now threatens the identity we find in our perceived purpose, the routines we live in, and the way we affect the world. How then, shall we weather this storm?

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Luke 12:24tells us “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” The ravens outside my windows, just like the hawk I couldn’t take my eyes off of yesterday, ignite the truths of my faith over and over again. Where we can offer a skill, a helping hand, a talent, a resource, a collaboration…let us be aware of the opportunity and without hesitation to take it. With a quiet peace resting in our hearts, unceasing courage in our limited landscape, and a conviction of deliverance on the other side of this darkness, we, too, can navigate this storm with a delicate balance of surrender and attack.

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