Such strange times we are living in. A couple of friends, women a decade or two older than I, have, in the past few years, faced unexpected and unwanted changes in their personal relationships. Their experiences have caused me to think a great deal about life events that befall us without our consent. I've thought, "So often I fail to act of my own volition while I still can."
Now here we all are, the whole wide world, living with the consequences of circumstances which are beyond our control. Here we sit, looking out at the world (which today, where I am, is blowing with new snow after a spring-like 65 degree day yesterday. The last day of winter and the first day of spring have reversed themselves. How quickly things can change!). The world we live in seems transformed, but really, it was never what we'd imagined it to be. We're more vulnerable, more connected, less in control than we thought.
I keep thinking about the meaning of apocalypse, a revealing. We are in a time of apocalypse, that which was hidden being unveiled before our eyes. How do we feel about what we see? How will we respond?
Our responses will remake us. In our personal apocalypses, our personal lives are remade. Coronavirus is remaking the world, and us too. What we have been was, perhaps, as true as we had eyes to see. It will take courage to take a fresh look at ourselves and our relationships, our work and play, our communities and our world. What is the truth? What did we prefer to see before the naked underside of things was laid bare?
We'd prefer to go back. It's only been days. We can remember clearly what was normal -- school and work, grocery shopping and socializing. All that we took for granted, because we could, until we couldn't. We could not imagine this and it came so quickly. As the days and weeks and, God forbid, but likely, months go by, we may no longer be able to imagine things as they were.
Who will we become in the meanwhile? The fissures between us will continue to appear as one locks herself in the house, another hoards toilet paper, yet another refuses the six-foot separation of bodies now mandated for the common good. Can we draw together as we stay apart? Will we accept that the brokenness between and among us on the outside is a manifestation of the broken places on the inside?
The opportunities dormant in this moment are endless. We can slow down and become quiet. Yes, we can stream movies, but we can also watch the narrative playing in our own hearts and minds. We can be sad and hopeful, fearful and helpful, lost and grateful all at the same time. We can watch the unfolding drama around us and within us and learn who we have been, who we are, who we are becoming.