Friday, July 31, 2020

Learning how to deal with what I can't control . . .

Since March, when Covid-19 reared its ugly head in a way that began to change all of our lives, things started to get a little difficult for me. 

I am a "flaming" extrovert.  Staying at home, even on my Friday day off, was (and is still) a challenge unless I had a long and daunting to-do list that would keep me focused and busy.  In the past 5 months of our current Covid-19 reality, I've been working from home quite a bit.  I have a wonderful home study with lots of electronic do-dads to help me accomplish all that I need and want to do. 

And yet, this has been a very difficult time for me, especially mentally.  I'm an extrovert. I need people.  Phone calls help.  But I miss in-person worship and Wednesday evening children and youth ministries. I miss one-on-one counseling. I miss appointments.  I miss singing to senior citizens at the Senior Center and retirement home. I also miss being able to safely go camping in our camper. 

Needless to say, in early June, I began to get a little depressed, discouraged . . . and whiny.  I whine when I get depressed. I was spiraling into an emotional place I didn't really want to go. 

I have written for years that I truthfully know that I do not have as much control over life as most people wish. In the grand scheme of things, I can only control if I react emotionally to something (and often regret doing so) or that I can instead respond out of faith / reason (which in my experience is pretty much the best choice all the time!)

Issue #1 for me . . . was to acknowledge that I wasn't in control.  Covid-19 is in control right now.  My only choices are . . . react emotionally, or respond out of faith / reason.  To help me better deal with this, I began to read up on stoicism.  After all, I minored in philosophy in college.  Stoicism has had it's place in my life for many years.  But a deeper dive was needed to rediscover its' merits. 

Ryan Holiday, noted contemporary author, has embraced stoicism. He has a YouTube channel called the "Daily Stoic."   Below is one of the videos from that channel which helped me begin to think about things in a new more reasoned way. 

For those wondering if I am abandoning the Christian faith for philosophy . . . No, I'm not, so please don't go there.  In my personal life experience, the philosophical study of reason has almost always benefited my Christian faith in some form or fashion, with results that I often didn't expect.  The appreciation of reason aids my daily Christian walk. 

At the heart of Stoicism is the quote by Marcus Aurelius, "You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength."  If you are struggling right how with a lack of "control" over everything going on in your life, then check out "Stoicism Quotes" on Pinterest with focus on Seneca and Marcus Aurelius.  Or, check out some of Ryan Holiday's videos.  

Perhaps it will help you better respond to life, especially about how to live in a Covid-19 world. 

The YouTube link to Ryan's video is here, or at https://youtu.be/g0lmSRCSGIU\

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