We’ve been living in the COVID-19 pandemic for four weeks now. It’s our first full moon, and the pink supermoon at that. The overcast skies may prevent me from seeing the moon in all her glory, but I’ll light a candle and whisper prayers nonetheless. Prayers for a new world. Nothing about the moment-to-moment details of our life is the same, and yet this feels so familiar.
How have I been able to find contentment when there is death and fear and disease in every news report? Why am I so comfortable despite not knowing where my next paycheque is coming from, how I’ll pay the bills, or when we’ll be back to normal? Why do I know precisely what’s happening with my kid when he is glued to my side one minute and raging at me the next?
I bet there are some of you who know exactly what I’m talking about; this sense of ease amidst the dis-ease of the world. And if you know what I’m talking about, it’s because you’ve been through the fire and have emerged on the other side.
One of my greatest lessons in life is that I have no control. I cannot stop terrible things from happening, and when they do, there is no holding on to the familiar. I know upheaval. I know grief. I know what it is to feel powerless. But I also know that the key to surviving all of this lies within. I am my compass, and my map. No matter how stormy it gets, I have found my way back. We all have this power.
Please don’t mistake these musings as me saying I’m having a grand old time over here. While I deeply love the opportunity to sink deeper into my spiritual practice and read more books, there are some incredible challenges. They’re likely similar to yours, so I won’t whine. In fact, maybe yours are greater (if you’re reading this and you’re a front-line worker, I love you and I appreciate you).
Think about how your life has (or has not) prepared you for this time. You may surprise yourself with your own resilience. How have you been asked to bend and change in the face of the unimaginable? When have you been shaken by the cruel and random nature of things? What did you learn in those moments and how did those times shape you?
We are alone, together. Each of us has a unique vantage point, and unique ways of moving through this. Our very understanding of the world, of ‘normal’, of security and safety has been collectively destroyed. This is no small thing. It’s okay to feel that. It’s okay to grieve what we’ve been asked to sacrifice. It’s okay to know that you will eventually be okay. It’s okay to wonder if you won’t.
I feel hopeful when I imagine us down the road, all gathered together at our favourite local establishments, listening to our favourite bands, generously boosting the economy and the pockets of our beloved local artists again. There will be grand festivals to celebrate the arts, because the arts kept our spirits up during this chrysalis time. We’ll emerge transformed and get to hug our friends and visit with our elders.
Meanwhile, I have to tell my seven-year-old that our secret cemetery playground is now off limits. I welcome any and all suggestions for safe outdoor time when one is an apartment dweller. It’s no coincidence that we’ve been forced to spend more time with our kids. Our imaginations will be our saving grace in all of this.