Yesterday was a good day! I gardened, mowed the grass, and changed the oil in the lawnmower, something I haven’t done in ages. I painted a door, and I made dinner. In between I read and wrote a little. I drove our census over to the post office and then took a nice drive through the neighborhood. In the evening I watched TV with my wife. I am at my best, busy!

Today is different. It’s a beautiful day here in sunny California and the sun is shining, but I woke up in pain and haven’t been able to get away from it. It’s a beautiful day but I’m having trouble enjoying it. I’m taking medication and lying down. Life is up, and then life is down.

Yesterday on the phone with a friend we talked about wanting to live in the bubble. I want to live in the middle-class bubble, life safe, life resourced, life on vacation, life fun, life the way I like it, life that I control.

And I have. Many Americans have. We have gotten a good deal of that. But not every day, and not every season. Right now, during the coronavirus isolation, struggling with pain, life is up-and-down for us.

Sometimes the bubble pops. Dysbiosis. What do we do with that? We live it. We live it all. We live what we can control, and we live we can’t control. Welcome to reality! This is pretty much everybody’s reality. We don’t get everything we want. Some people hardly get anything they want.

We are headed into a season where many people are and will experience losses, the loss of loved ones, the loss of health, the loss of finances, the loss of careers, the loss of homes.

I don’t like this. No one does. So what still stands when all around things are lost? What still stands in all the world is full of fear? Despite our difficulties, two things haven’t changed. Two salient callings come to mind today: Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Neither a virus, nor the status of my body changes those two great ethical commandments for me. Discomfort doesn’t change those wisest of priorities.

Question: do we still love when we don’t get what we want? Do we love God? Do we love our neighbor? Do we maintain entente? These questions challenge me. Sometimes I fail in love — for God and my neighbor.

But yesterday my wife shipped my daughter and her husband two masks. My daughter is pregnant. We want her safe. Love.

And yesterday and today I worked on forming an online reading group to better connect with friends as we practice social distancing. Love.

Today so far I am holding my tongue and guarding my heart. It’s hard to hurt. I want to be healed, but I’m working on not being offended when I’m not. I’m not okay with pain, but I am working on not blaming anyone for it. This is life, part of life, and even compromised I am not off the hook to love. That’s hard. That’s love. Love doesn’t insist upon its own way. Love exists outside the bubble of what I want.

Last night at dinner we prayed for everyone who is suffering loss right now. We thanked God for the good things in our lives. Love.

Whether we’re on the mountaintop or in the ditch, in the bubble or watching it pop, the highest calling on our lives hasn’t changed.

Yet love.

And when a flock of bluebills, pitching pondward, tears the dark silk of heaven in one long rending nose-dive, you catch your breath at the sound, but there is nothing to see except stars.”

So writes Aldo Leopold in his A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There, a beautiful 1949 piece of nature writing. Aldo was an iconic woodsman, ecologist and environmentalist.

Reading his poetic lines you can just see him out in the marsh in the dark — waiting early or late there to hear and to wonder. Leopold is our model, our nature guru, our father forester who reminds us the land is sacred and the creatures sacred too. And we should wait on them.

This morning my wife and I sat in the family room looking out at our small backyard pond. We were waiting. We were waiting for the birds to come. We were waiting for some new migrating spring birds to show.

Sometimes seeing and hearing is all about getting in the right place and waiting, waiting for something to pitch pondward toward you, to tear the silk of heaven in front of you. To see you.

And sure enough, pitching pondward, a flash of color, a bright orange and black, a male, hooded Oriole. He landed on the trellis above the pond, all brilliant yellow-orange and deepest black, dropped aflutter to the water, splashed, and then winged back to the fence, rear end fluffy-wet and clean.

The first Oriole of the season! We felt so honored. And then as if that was not enough avian showboating suddenly brown phoebes were hopping on the ground all puffy and fat. And a white crowned sparrow lit on the stucco walland turned to show off his amazing eye stripes. And then a bit later a rare — to our yard — Rüfüs hummingbird darted into our blue plumbago, hovered over the pond and then in a reddish-brown flash — was gone.

When we planted all yard we planted for birds and butterflies. When we made a small pond, we made it for water lilies and water Hawthorne and duckweed — and birds. Doing so we tipped our hats to Claude Monet, Aldo Leopold, Emily Dickinson, Annie Dillard, Jean-Henri Fabre, John Bartram, God and other favorite environmentalists, poets, botanists and painters. 

What to do?

Build a pond set up a blind, or plant flowers, put out seeds and bread crumbs — and wait more.

The wonders are worth the wait.

This morning a hummingbird came to my backyard pond. It hovered in front of my pond fountain — a silver column of water surging into the air about a foot high — and took some sips. Standing on air, sipping sustenance — pure magic.

And the column of water? It’s powered by a pump connected to a solar panel. The sun moves the water up into nicely reachable space for the hummingbird. Sun moving water — pure magic

This morning I saw one of the dark grey and black fence lizards that lives in my backyard run straight down the vertical wall of my chimney to the ground. Running headfirst down a vertical wall — pure magic!

All around us we see things doing what they were made to do, things that we can’t do, but things that we can marvel at and appreciate and enjoy.

And that’s the question: what were you made to do? it may be a thing that the lizard can’t do and the sun can’t do and the hummingbird can’t do. It is most likely something you do easily, without thinking much about it, like breathing or eating.

Think about it. What do you love to do? Do that! Overcome fear, apathy, negativity and do something that you know is in you to do, something that might help someone else, something that might give you meaning, something that you’ve always wanted to do but perhaps been afraid to try.

Capitalization learning involves getting good at something by building on the strengths that we are naturally given

Do what you can capitalize on, what — given your personality and strengths — you feel nudged to do, something with the potential for you to perfect — pure magic!

Just do it.

Drill down, ensoul, innovate.

Today.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Social distancing is a challenge!

Part of our problem is that many of us feel compelled to be productive. We are works oriented. We want to save ourselves.

This comes from within and without. Within lies the need for self-validation — through doing.

I’ve become habituated to that hard-driving motive to constantly do. Maybe you too. Our house is currently sparklingly clean, floors dusted, toilets cleaned, dishes done and put away, garage organized, weeds pulled from the garden. It makes sense. Order. Beauty. Activity. Busyness. And “I’ve got to do something so I don’t go stir crazy! I need to list at least a few things I’ve accomplished by the end of the day as I fall asleep!”

Yesterday, I scraped the grass out of cracks in the driveway. Scraping — for sanity! I also trimmed my toenails and listed that as one of my big three before I went to sleep. Clippings, to prevent an existential vacuum.

It’s okay. Looks better. The driveway. My toes. I did something! Hope the grass and my nails grow back so I can get after them again soon!

The other thing driving us toward productivity is from beyond the borders of our rooms and yards. It’s them.

I think; maybe you think, “Everyone else must be happier and more adaptive and creative and productive than me! What the heck are they up to?”

And you can find out.

Everywhere online are articles and videos on things to do during the coronavirus lockdown! Even I wrote one! There are the videos of people doing all kinds of cool and unique stuff — working from home, jumping jacks, singing out of their windows, video-chatting, baking, cooking, writing books, alphabetizing their sock drawers.

But this morning listening to a podcast on this issue I heard one woman ask a salient question, “Can’t I just stay in my sweatpants and be anxious?”

Yes! You can!

We workaholics, busy addicts, taskaphiles, list-mongers, chore-junkies, job-hounds, project-freaks, efficiency-peddlers and hobby-jobbies — we need to revisit the value of non-productive leisure.

What about the virtue of salutary sloth? What about the value of productive inertia? Robust indolence? Salvific slackardification? Curative lethargy? Goofoffery? Layaboutery? Or perhaps — meditation anyone?

We have often been preached the virtues of slowing down. Now is our moment, now is our opportunity. This the age of the pandemic flaneur. This is our opportune moment to find balance between doing and being.

Yes, do stuff. Especially to connect with and to care for others. Especially what God made you to do.

But also, could we for a time just be for a while?

Yes.

Be.

Just take a moment to — be.

Take a time out when you don’t have to prove anything or be somebody special to justify your existence or impulsively busy your body so that you don’t have to think about who you are and what makes you valuable and lovable even when you’re not preductable.

I love you, you idleness-experts, loafing gourmands, shiftlessness devotees, aficionados torpid, grace addicts, mercy-mongers, love gurus.

Teach us grace!

Teach us a sweet-potent, leisurely-vigorous, lethargic-salvific contentment.

During this time of loss and fear we have a great opportunity to feel with the rest of our world.

Psychotherapist Miriam Greenspan says that our own painful emotions might help us discover a close relationship between our “heartbreak and the brokenheartedness of the world.”

If today you were sad, know that millions were sad today too. If today you felt fear, know then that you are confederate in this emotions with billions of others around the globe, especially those who have lost their loved ones, those who have lost jobs, especially those in Third World countries.

We may want to be rid of our darker emotions, but they are a part of us and part of our world and they have the potential to bind us together. It has been my observation that we bond over our weaknesses even more than over our strengths.

The moments when I have felt closest to other human beings are the moments where we have both taken off our masks and shared our hurts or our weaknesses without embarrassment or constraint.

Richard Rohr says “that in a whole lifetime spent with seekers of enlightenment, I have never once heard anyone speak in hushed tones about the value of endarkenment.”

But soul darkening has value. The endarkenment of our souls creates an opportunity to rely on God and to connect with others, to text, write, call and pray for them.

This is what it means to be human. It means to be happy and sad, full and empty, to be at peace and anxious along with the rest of our world.

Weep with those who weep,” command Paul.

Romans 12:15

If you have any of the dark emotions during this time of social distancing, don’t deny those. Sit with them. Learn from them. I speak to you in hushed tones, the hushed and healing tones of tender honesty, compassionate transparency, reciprocal disclosure, unguarded openness and loving candor.

It’s okay to have dark moments. Don’t be embarrassed. We all have them. Your feelings will come and go, but your empathy — practice that and it will come and stay.

Yesterday I went out to the side patio and waited for the sun to pop out from behind a dark cloud. When it did I noticed several things.

I could feel my arms and shoulders and spirit become all warmish, snugly and radiant from the rays falling my skin. How cozy; how encouraging.

Exposure to sunlight — while we know too much can be harmful — is thought to increase the brain’s release of serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm, focused, easeful. Light therapy! Get out; grab some serotonin.

The sun; the warmth, the brightness — I feel very easiated, calmified and soothed by our hydrogen-helium star. It’s not big compared to other stars, nonetheless it contains 99.8% of the total mass in our solar system. That’s a lot of warmth!

Our sun is almost 110 times the diameter of our earth! Over one million Earth’s could be squashed inside the Sun, and yet for me yesterday‘s rays — an eight-minute-journey from sun to me — were gentle and soft and just the right distance away to give me life, and vitamin D. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol.

Looking, I noted that the sun fell on in front of me and turned the lawn a gorgeous scintillant, bright green, in contrast to the grass left in the shade by the fence. And the shadow art from the flowers along the walk jumped out and became darker on the brown paved walk.

I sat still, gazing at sun and shadow wonders all around. The silver sheen bush at the edge of the house turned into a thousand tiny mirrors, each small, round leaf reflecting lambent, silver light. Taken together the bush was aglitter, glinting, glistening.

I love light. It’s more than warmth. It’s color, all the colors in the spectrum. This morning we woke to a rainbow out our back sliding glass door. A rainbow — a promise of protection — is formed out of light passing through water. It’s gorgeous — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

When the air is full of water after a rainstorm, the droplets act as prisms creating rainbows, colored in hope, reminding us of God’s love for us. Rainbows are circular in shape because the prisms (raindrops) that created them are spherical.

During this time of social isolation, remember to get outside a bit in safe places, in your yard or patio or for a safe walk, especially when the sun is shining.

Go out and see and feel the warmth, the wondrous, winsome solar wealth, the colors, sparkles, and spectaculars in the light. It’s a reminder that life is still warm and bright and that God has created the universe that still has good and love in it

Our planet is a fascinating place. Our bodies are a wonderland. Our relationship are adventures of discovery.

What is around you that interests you? Who are you? In these days when we are cloistered in our homes we still have opportunities to explore and discover and learn.

Dread of a world locked in pandemic doesn’t have to lock up the world’s minds. By effort we might avoid acedia, spiritual and mental sloth, and we might avoid anhedonia, the loss of interest in pleasure.

Recently, shadowed over by the execrable, dark-clouded specter of the coronavirus, I felt like I had perhaps lost something of myself. I seemed to be less, diminished while sequestered at home. I’m not. I am what I always was — curious about many things. I just need to tap back into that. Maybe you do too.

Today you might make a list of your interests, your fancies, your whimsies, your amaturifications, your loves, your avocations, your hobbies and pursue some of them.

I like reading. Lately, I’ve been exchanging book ideas with friends. I’m in the middle of a book by Simon Winchester. He’s a popular historian and has written books like Atlantic, Pacific, Krakatoa, and the Men Who United the States. By the way you have never read Winter Dance by Gary Paulsen do so. It’s a hilarious story about running the Iditarod.

My wife likes games. She beat me soundly the other day at a card game called King’s In the Corner. I consoled myself that the game is mostly luck, mostly. Last night one of my daughters told me she was planning to make puzzles and drink hot chocolate with a roommate. Good combination.

I like nature, geology, botany, astronomy, ornithology all of natural history. So on TV we watched Voyage of the Continents, the story of tectonic plates. Fascinating! perhaps to ease or brains we later watched the movie Jojo Rabbit, a fun satire.

Also along the lines of enjoying nature, I put my binoculars by the back door, and I have been watching the birds come to my small pond – doves, house finches, white lined sparrows, black phoebes, yellow goldfinches, and hummingbirds. One night last week I set my telescope out back and looked at Venus and the moon and the Orion nebulae. Venus showed a quarter phase. Jupiter and Saturn and Mars are visible in the morning sky these days, and I’m planning on getting up early to see them soon.

I like music. The other night my wife and I watched an old Moody Blues concert. Fun! This rock ‘n’ roll band included symphonies in very creative ways in their music. I might pick up my guitar today. I’ve neglected that. One of my daughters was home recently, and I helped her buy some new songs on iTunes. I like some of them too and download them onto my phone.

I like writing, thus this blog. I like you, my readers and I am always trying to think of someway to encourage you. I also write modern proverbs at http://www.modernproverbs.net and modern soliloquy at https://modernsoliloquies.com I am looking around in my head for a book idea.

I like gardening. Yesterday, I mowed the lawn and pulled some weeds. It cost me because of some chronic pain issues, but it was worth it. Making things grow, particularly flowers, makes me feel peaceful, and I love sitting in the sun outback and looking at the plants I’ve cultivated. My neighbor gave me an artichoke plant last year. Yesterday, I found my first artichokes growing at the top of it. I think I’ll cook one up today.

And this is another avocation of mine. I love cooking because I love eating. I’ve found some new vegetarian recipes. Yum! And healthy. Yesterday I made chicken soup. Perfect for a rainy day. Some of my new recipes I’ve gotten from friends and family. It’s been fun to text people lately and just ask, “What are you eating for dinner tonight?” It gives you new ideas. By the way, have you ever tried coconut popsicles? They are a new favorite of mine, but I’m beginning to see them show up around my midriff so, hum. Unable to go to the gym, I’ve been using some stretchy bands. It’s surprising me, but you can add muscle mass that eats fat even with these little rubber stretchies, very affordable on Amazon.

I also like restoring, remodeling and home decoration. Yesterday, I forced myself to paint one of the new interior doors we had recently installed. My wife put on the first coat. I put on the second. I didn’t really want to do this, but I loved the results. Every time I walk by that new gleaming white decorative door, I get a small jolt of pleasure just seeing the improvement.

I’m definitely not saying that life isolated like this is easy. I feel afraid at times during the day. I don’t like the uncertainties of my own health issues or those that cover the globe. I’ve even broken down and cried a few times lately because my pain was so unrelenting. But I do find that pursuing my interest takes my mind off my pain and off the scariness of our world right now and helps me through these days. I’m not ignoring the crisis or my issues, but I’m limiting myself check out the news only once or twice a day, and I’m trying to remind myself and you that there are still many good things in the world.

I like driving, fast! Yesterday, because it was not a bad pain day for me, I drove my car out into a rural area near our home. It felt free to breeze through the turns, stomp the accelerator, hear that high-performance V-6 purr and growl. But I also slowed and spotted some snowy white egrets on blue Otay Lake, and I noticed the yellow wild flowers blooming alongside the road — the sunflowers and the mustards.

And here is something else. I’m trying not to be selfish even though like everyone I’ve watched the Dow fall and some of my retirement funds shrink. I worry a bit, but I want to avoid a mentality of scarcity. My relationship with God helps. He has been generous with me.

Working to manage our own anxieties and our finances in the wisest ways we can, my wife and I have also teamed up recently to give money to family and friends and charities that we support. Even though this is a financially scary time, some of us may still find some resources of time or money to care for others. The psychologist say that we are most happy when we are most generous.

This doesn’t require money. I like talking to people. This is a way to give that doesn’t necessitate finances. I’ve been trying to text or call at least a few people each day. I listened to a podcast that suggested we do this. It feels good to reach out. It mitigates my loneliness and isolation and others too. Yesterday, I texted with a friend from Maine. We haven’t had contact for a long time, but isn’t this the perfect time to reconnect with old friends far away? She sent me a picture of the snow In the field behind her house. Beautiful! I sent her a picture of sun, me sitting in it, something California seems to always have plenty of, even in crisis.

The upshot of all this is that we are still in charge of ourselves and we can still make choices. Remind yourself of what moves you, what fascinates you and add to your day by pursuing that.

The world feels weird right now and scary, and yet it is still beautiful and interesting. I pray everyday for its healing and mine. And I work to find ways to be content and productive.

Life still has good in it. What if you and I figure out how to snag some of that?

Even to your old age and gray hairsI am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you;I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

God promises his people three things here in Isaiah.

First, he will sustain them to the end of their lives. To sustain is to strengthen or support physically or mentally. And note the logical corollary to this: We will need the most sustaining when we are the weakest.

At one point in my life I lost a precious job and in the interim, before finding another one, I was afraid. I felt emotionally weak, vulnerable. I didn’t like it. I’m not particularly fond of feeling vulnerable. Few of us are. I’ve often played the strongman, the teacher, the leader, the writer but clearly I haven’t always been the strong man.

Secondly, in Isaiah 46 we are told that because God made us and feels intimately connected to us as family, he will carry us. To carry someone is to support and move them from one place to another. Again, this carrying implies a position of weakness: A person only needs to be carried when they cannot carry themselves. It can feel quite undignified to be carried.

I once sprained my ankle playing soccer in Brazil. The soccer field had holes in it. I was wheeled through the airport by my teenage team for the plane ride home in a wheelchair. I felt both privileged and slightly embarrassed. It’s true. Sometimes I find my weakness embarrassing.

Thirdly, in Isaiah, God repeats the first point, that he will sustain and he adds one more thing: He will rescue us. To rescue someone is to save someone from a dangerous or distressing situation that they can’t save themselves from. It is also to keep something from being lost or abandoned by retrieval. Again, dangling from a rescuing helicopter or laying on a gurney is hardly a bragging point for most of us. “I had to be rescued!”

At two points in my life I have been significantly sick, recovering from surgery, dealing with chronic pain. During these times I’ve had to wait on rescue, wait on doctors, wait on appointments, wait on surgeries, wait on a gurney, wait on God. I’m not that good at waiting, particularly when there is a high degree of uncertainty and uncomfortability. 

What can we take from all this? First, that we will at times be weak, embarrassed, at times need to be carried and that sometimes we will not be able to rescue ourselves from loss, deprivation, failure, need.

Let’s be honest. None of us like to be weak, dependent, helpless, sick and needy, and yet sometimes we will be. One of the great steps of maturity in life is to realize and accept our own vulnerability. All are subject to financial, health, material, relational, physical and situational loss and and its attendant emotion — vulnerability. We are realizing this acutely during the coronavirus pandemic. How insecure we are, practically spending the entire families savings on toilet paper!

But it is in such times of personal need that we can discover our humanity that includes our vulnerability — which by the way was always there even when we didn’t know it or denied it. How much we are all alike, strong, yes, and also all sometimes indisputably, intrinsically afraid, dependent and weak.

And here’s the thing; this weakness is most hard on us at the emotional level. The emotional power position is to save; the affectively weak position is to be saved. To be the one who needs to be rescued; we must be okay with being and feeling weak, even embarrassed; we must be okay with waiting until we are sustained and rescued by another; we must be okay with not being the hero, the driver, the solution and we must be okay with letting others shine and do the saving.

Ah, needy, waiting for help to come. The help seems slow. As time passes we wonder, will it come? We may grow angry over our loss of control or we may become sad.

What else can we do?

We can accept reality, accept both our strength and our weakness and we can work on not being so embarrassed by it so that it doesn’t become impedimenta to us that we drag along with us. Note that Betty Ford was praised for raising breast cancer awareness following her 1974 mastectomy. So many women have been helped and encouraged by her model of openness. We help ourselves and others by normalizing sickness and weakness. It is strong to accept that we are weak.

And we can learn to hold on to hope. That means we can trust that God will come through when he decides to come through and not when we tell him to come through.

We can lean into our difficulty and see what it has to teach us as we wait. That too is a form of strength. Waiting and watching can teach us that we are alternately weak and strong, that life is up and down and that God will come through in his own time and way and not ours.

Finally, it has been my experience — and I know many of you have experienced this too — that the promises of God do not always come to us when and how we want. Then we trust. Then we wait. Then we mature into those who are not afraid to be what we sometimes are — the strong-weak. Then we experience latency, a normal stage of life, the state of existing but not yet being developed or manifest.

Weak-waiting —- today it occurs to me that this can be a beautiful form of strong-trusting, and that this can set up a working relationship with God, one that preps us for future times of strength and weakness, one that finds a way to deeply liaise with the God who rescues.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecc 3:11

Today much of the world is staying at home, social distancing, so we can protect each other. We are working together more than usual and keeping each other safe until time brings us to safer times. We are social caring — through distance. My absence protects you and yours protects me.

But did you notice something special in all this? This form of protection has created quietness.

Today the world is quieter than it has been in centuries! Life is blunted, hushful, abated, aphonic, still.

“Shush! Listen. Can you hear it? Noise has decreased. Noise pollution is down. Sound has been muted all over the world as we wait, quiescent — for the world to heal.”

It’s the quiet hour of history. And in the quiet we have been given the gift of quiet.

Listen, to the quiet.

Luxuriate — in time.

Take a deep breath in this, our quiet time, and notice what you are doing and enjoy what you are doing.

Do those things you do slowly and quietly because you have time to do so.

Soul calm.

Spirit rest.

Self slow.

World — quiet.

Be still and know …

“They’re really going to like this!” said God when he put a paper-thin, white wrapper on a garlic clove to keep it moist and fresh until use. “It’s a perfect bonne bouche!” he added.

I noticed this perfect thin, white wrapper yesterday when I used a garlic press to squish the yummy, savory garlic spice into my pot of steaming white bean soup. The thin paper was left in the bottom of the press. Amazing!

Gifts, wrapped and placed in containers are everywhere.

God loves us. He gift-wrapped so many things for us.

He must have taken delight in how much we would take delight in wrappers and containers and their contents and how much we would benefit.

Our oranges have thick, pungent bright orange rinds, bananas that perfectly peel-able yellow jacket, apples the shiny red edible skin — all these packing many needed essentials.

Fruits are pouches for essential nutrients — potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).

In times like these, when fear an uncertainty are high, its helpful to notice the small, safe, protective container-gifts that we have been given. They are everywhere.

Yes, this rock we live on is dangerous, but we have wonderful layers and covers and containers and skins to enjoy today and to be thankful for.

Our own skin, the bag we live in, holds in all our complex organic machinery. The average adult has approximately 21 square feet of skin which weighs 9 pounds and contains more than eleven miles of blood vessels. The average person has about 300 million skin cells.

And we have our white blood cells — also called leukocytes or leucocytes — and they are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. Yea!

Furthermore, our soft clothing keeps us modest and warm. Our homes with walls and roofs keep us warm and dry and safe. Our cars, and buses and trains and planes carry us safely many miles in their metal skins.

Yes, we get sick, but we often live covered, enclosed, encased, protected lives, and for those who don’t or can’t have such protections, the well-world must take great care and bring them inside and close them in and protect them and keep them safe, the homeless, the refugees the immigrants. This is love, to put a coat over another.

There is more. Earth’s atmosphere, its atmospheric stratification, is commonly divided into five layers. Excluding the exosphere, the four primary layers are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere.

These wonderful wrappings enclose our earth, keep in the heat, hold our weather, protect us from the sun. The thin layer of gas called ozone, high up in the atmosphere, filters out ultraviolet radiation.

The Earth’s atmosphere is also good at shielding us from space rocks hurtling towards the planet. Our strong air pressure causes many meteors to break up into small pieces.

The extreme heat generated as the meteoroid passes through the atmosphere causes it to burn up in what we see as streaking flashes of light.

We are protected. Of course, today, as the world is reeling from the execrable coronavirus we may not feel or think of all these protections, but we must to be rational and balance our perspective.

Yes, there is illness. Yes, a large meteor might strike the earth and harm us. Yes, one day the sun will exploded and take out the earth, but yes, yes, yes today we yet experience many wonderful layers of protection surrounding our food, our bodies, our homes, our earth.

“They’re really going to like this — bark, membrane, sheath, dermis, film, carapace, shell, hull, capsule, chamber, package, pocket, packet, pouch!”

Today, steady yourselves, and noticed the protective layers around you — and say to yourself, “I like this.”