Every person’s life is a story. A sacred story. Worth telling, worth listening to, the joy of it and the struggles of it; the successes and the failures; the expansions and the limits; the beauty and the painful. The Liberation times and the Good Friday times and the Resurrection times apply to us all.
We do what we can do; and feel what we feel of deep grief and loss. And the Holy Stories of this week remind us that the history of our ancestors and of humanity as a whole has rarely been remembered as one of triumph or as a paradise of shopping but rather as a tragic story where indifference and loss often dominate and hope is rare to come by. All the more reason in this time of staying apart and indoors for the greater good, the common good, to hear anew the stories of survival and liberation of our ancestors as if for the first time.
Listen to Kate Woods who is writing her experience as she navigates each day not knowing her fate with the coronavirus inside her lungs. She writes:
“This is a pivotal moment. It’s not a world war, where we would still have ‘sides’, it is a whole world experience.
My prayer/hope, on my personal day 5, is that we might come through this with a new respect for the planet and for one another as a global family, bringing about a new balance. That we might begin to work WITH nature and find, collectively, as a people, ways to harness this bounty without the ‘rape and pillage’ approach. To give as much as we take, globally, country to country and person to person. To prioritize real time with our loved ones, to turn inwards towards our elderly, our children, our communities. To slow the fuck down.
The speed of our lives, the demand we had put on the planet, ourselves, one another. It wasn’t sustainable was it? And it’s time to grieve it. To acknowledge the landslide. Our collective and individual mistakes. Where we went so utterly and completely wrong.
Perhaps before the reinventing of your small business, collating materials to relaunch, perhaps even before you rush into rescuing, slow down. Stop. Be bewildered. Feel the fear, the grief. Be empty.
Am I going to survive this? Are you? We don’t know yet. That uncertainty makes us transparent to one another. We are all emotionally naked now and are embarking upon the most unprecedented voyage of several generations, together. One people, trying to simply breathe.
Surely it is a time for not taking breath for granted. Nor lungs that work. Nor air that is clean. Nor people caring for one another and competent people trained rightly to assist the sick and dying.
Queries for Contemplation
Kate Woods speaks of the current pandemic as a world war where no one is on one side or the other—a “whole world experience.” Might this change our attitude to wars? And preparing—and spending—for wars? Be with that possibility this season of Passover and Holy Week.