Picking up the pieces…
I wonder what our stories will be when we look back in 10 years. I wonder if we’ll have softened, if we’ll be able to weep as we register the enormity of what we’re living through.
Cause you see, we’ve grown callus about the numbers of deaths, the refrigerator trucks holding bodies until there’s room for suitable respects, the incredible economic hardships endured, the exhausted healthcare workers, the warnings of spikes and variants indicating a chance we’ll be pushed backwards – the early signs of returning normalcy crushed like a late-arriving frost stealing new growth from the spring. We’ve argued about reasons, science; we’ve outraged through our politics over wearing a mask. Really? We’ve done everything we could possibly think of to avoid the grief. We’ve sidestepped the real conversations about uncertainty, loss and pain. Faith in the face of tragedy.
We’ve been intolerant and unskilled at handling what’s been a prolonged unfathomable time. All that innovation that roared forward 30 short years ago, the time-saving, quick solutions we reflexively turn to have left us ill-prepared to face the long-haul. We seem to be at a loss for how to come through this period with some semblance of grace.
These times have changed us – generally speaking, not for the better, and hopefully not for good.
Where we are is a difficult spot. Hearts tattered. Souls beaten-down. Nerves frayed. Neighbors resurrecting unhealed grievances with one another – some as old as the Civil War. Subjects made taboo in an effort to prevent unrivaled incivility from breaking out at Sunday dinner.
But we need to talk! We need to listen… to the pain, the grief, the fear … loss. We’re in this together, after all.
In the middle of any nightmare we may use fighting energy to feel alive perhaps, and indulge our anger and outrage to ward off helplessness. It’s only when the worst has passed, when we can look back from a place of safety that we might be more vulnerable. Remember what we’ve been through. And weep. Recover our shared humanity.
There’s a Buddhist saying: “When in doubt, just sit.” Perhaps moments – even months rolling into years – of the unfathomable beg us to sit, tell stories, listen carefully, calm ourselves, open our hearts. There are lessons from the past. Can we heed them? How to reach out to one another, how to give a hand, how to cultivate our compassion… in order to create a more loving future?
As I write, Putin has sent his army into Ukraine – those of us in the US watch with horror another war on TV. Dear God, are we really talking about the use of nuclear weapons again? It was only 60 years ago when a little blond girl was tucking her head against a locker – part of school drills during the Bay of Pigs…only now as a grandmother she feels the gravity. Long, slow breath in and out. Repeating a simple prayer, “Let there be peace.”
These events impact all of us – every generation has them. These are ours … and our children’s and our grandchildren’s. What are we teaching them?
Together, let’s sit, breathe, open our hearts … perhaps that will give us time and perspective on how to walk into the only day we can count on – today…
…with the only ones we can love – each other.
Because there are many pieces to pick up … much to repair. Together.