Coronavirus, sheltering in, social distancing. It’s hard to think about, write about, talk about anything else these days. But for the first time in my recollection, the world is united in its battle to contain the virus. I cannot remember a time when we shared a common adversary like this. Sure, there are issues that should unite us globally like climate change, poverty and hunger, world peace. Depending on our leadership, countries pick and choose their cause célèbre in posturing and political gamesmanship, but the virus is no respecter of geography, rank or status. We are all vulnerable; we are all affected.
We’re living in a “new normal” they say. I’m not entirely sure we will ever return to what we all considered normal normal. But that is okay with me, because here in the U.S. we have been devolving into an increasingly polarized nation where social distancing has become a way of life, each of us retreating behind the walled fortresses of our respective tribes. If there can be a silver lining in a pandemic it is perhaps this. We are all rallying now behind the heroes in this battle. The healthcare workers, the grocery store clerks, the delivery drivers, the restaurants who continue to feed us, take out or delivery, the first responders, the teachers who are finding new ways to engage our kids, the warehouse and factory workers who keep us supplied with essential needs. Heroes are the people who get things done and keep things going. And it matters not our politics nor our religious persuasion, nor our station, when we hear about another soul stricken, most of us pause, our hearts pricked in common sadness and for those that do, we say a prayer for those fighting for their lives and those downed in battle. We have said it before, we are more alike than we are different. These days we’re getting a hard lesson in that fact. And it’s caused us to be a more compassionate, kinder people. But for grace, because of it, we are all in this together. We need each other now, more than ever.
So do I want the old normal back? Uh, that would be a no, as long as we are able to maintain the bittersweet side effects that a global tragedy like this leaves behind. It gives me hope for us. I have always known we had it in us. It’s a beautiful thing to see!
But before I go, let me tell you about the photograph above. I took it through my window last night in the wee hours. The moon was muted behind light clouds, its beams streaming through the tall trees. It was so bright that it woke me up. When I took a closer look at the photo, “she” emerged, with a bright heart guiding her in the darkness. There’s a huge dark heart below her, but one barely notices it. The light averts our attention upward.
In the Christian tradition I grew up in, Easter was a big deal. The passion of the previous days leading up to a triumphant Easter morn. Of particular interest to me as I’ve grown older and a little wiser is the role that Mary Magdalene played. The face in my early morning photograph reminds me of her. Surrounded by darkness, consumed by love, I imagine her journeying to the tomb that darkest of mornings. She had no idea that dawn would emerge, a miracle. Still she pressed on. We don’t know how this is all going to end, but one thing I do know, thanks to my night visitor, no matter how dark it may be, love will guide us from the darkness to the dawn.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay kind. If the fates are willing, I’ll see you next week.
Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 12 April 2020
they all learned they were kindred then
as (they) paused for a prayer
an invisible foe looming
trees bend with the wind
the greatest cure for all is love that’s deep
A ReVerse poem is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.