There’s a story attributed Anthony de Mello that he would share at spiritual retreats. It goes something like this:
A fish was swimming frantically from side to side in the ocean. Another fish asked, “What are you doing?” He answered, “I’m looking for the ocean.” The other fish said, “You’re in the ocean.”
This is my dilemma. I am the fish swimming from side to side. Covid-19 has come as a silent invader. It has crept in and robbed people that I know of their health, their livelihood and in some cases, even their life. I am looking for the ocean. I am looking for that safe place, where I know that life will return as I remember. And I feel frantic and weary because I can’t find that place.
I am the fish swimming from side to side. And I need to be reminded that I’m in the ocean. It’s my inability to recognize that I am surrounded by everything I need that is exhausting. Because I don’t focus long enough to see what I have, my spirit is sapped. Because I can’t stop frantically searching, my joy is gone; my hope is lost.
And then someone or something reminds me. Sometimes it’s like a flash of light! Suddenly I am keenly aware of all that surrounds me. I AM IN THE OCEAN! All the love and understanding and compassion that I need is here. In me. With me. Around me. Other times it seeps in slowly. I begin to faintly reckon that I am where I belong. It’s a flicker of light. A gentle wave of consciousness. I am serenely in the ocean. Surrounded by love. In me. With me. Around me.
The Corona Virus is awful and it is life-changing but I am determined to stay prayerful and be grateful for what I have. I will cherish what I have now because I know that it is not guaranteed to last.
And when I am with my loved ones, with my friends and my family, I know that I am in the ocean. Our presence is prayer. And God is with us.