A Closeness that Transcends Distance

Natasha experienced the months of the lockdown as a time of deep spiritual closeness to God, she shares her thoughts about her fear of going back to "normalcy" and what she understood through this moment.

The months of pandemic have, for me, been a time of deep spiritual awakening and closeness to the Lord. In many ways the lockdown of society in March helped to re-prioritize our daily activities, stopping all but the essential so that the dominant focus remained on Christ, and the companionship that kept my gaze on Him.

I remember early in the pandemic during a School of Community, Elena sharing how beautiful this time of lockdown was for her, and how surprising that was. Who would want to be locked into our homes, away from people including our closest friends, with such uncertainty around employment, health, and everything in which we find our security in this world? And yet for Elena, it was precisely this moment that allowed her to make time for the beautiful things of life, most especially through the work of School of Community. She shared that she almost did not want to go back, because she feared the busyness of life would once more cause her to forget this, and have difficulty making time. And Paolo was very strong in his response – that it does not have to do that. We must take what we’ve learned in this time, and bring it back into our lives, whenever things get back to something that resembles normal.

I felt very much this way leading up to the new school year. In March everything outside the home shut down, relieving me of all my outside driving duties and allowing me to focus completely on the core curriculum (as a homeschooling parent). During this time new friendships were brought into my life, and I began to follow them into various ministries in my home diocese. I also took on a part-time writing job, and always remained connected to my CL community, especially through the nightly rosary. School stopped officially in May, and my other volunteer activities continued.

As September approached, I began to dread the start of the new school year. School is always difficult for me, and I find I am always just reacting to all the extra stress of juggling the demands of everyday life. Being present to my children under such circumstances takes great effort and, if I’m honest, is something I was very bad at. And now with more outside responsibilities than ever before, I was fearful that they would not get the best of me, that it would be worse than ever.

The reality has been the complete opposite, and reflecting on that I can only attribute it to Christ’s presence in me, through my companionships both here at home and those in the Movement, that have allowed Him to become a dominant presence, that changes my gaze in life. People have been checking in with me, because they see how busy I am, and I can only ever response that I have never felt Jesus as close as I do now. I have never been so busy, but the things I am following are not aimless as they were before. They are all rooted in the presence of Christ, and because of that His presence overflows into the rest of my life, and gives meaning to it all. It allows me to be present in a way that I never have been before, nor could I have willed myself to do alone. It is pure gift, and standing in front of it, all I can say is thank you to the Lord, who by such strange circumstances as a global pandemic, reached into my life and touched me in way that is deeper than I have ever known.

I feel that the sentiments Elena shared in that School of Community so many months ago have come full circle, and are now full of hope. I do not need to be afraid of going back to normal, because there is a new normal – one that is full of the presence of Christ. Thanks be to God for the events and the friendships that have allowed this miracle to take place in my life.

Natasha, New Brunswick