Alone Together

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We are alone yet together, if only in spirit, suspended, waiting for an end that always seems just out of reach.

We are resolute, facing adversity with both love and humor, patience and frustration, fear and courage. Most of all we mourn those lost and remind ourselves we are the lucky ones, still standing.

Can we find a bright side to all this grief? We must take what crumbs are offered:

  • The world seems just a bit kinder - no? I see more tiny acts of consideration, acknowledgements of appreciation to all the brave who continue to show up to make this unwelcome journey a little less bumpy, a little less forlorn. As a society, if we looked under the hood more often perhaps we’d find we have more in common than not - but we should not have to set the world on fire to be reminded.
  • The world is quieter – with travel largely banned so too goes away its relentless ambient din. Enjoy the silence while you can. Within this cacophonous horror of disease and death seismologists can now hear the peaceful, natural internal rhythm of Earth. This is true. Even the planet has a heart. We need to become better listeners.
  • The world is cleaner – without travel we have drastically reduced air pollution, an ironic consequence of fighting off a global respiratory plague.
  • The world is less violent – homicides have dropped radically and burglary has become problematic when everyone is at home. Even the murderous gangs of Central America are enforcing social distancing. Cease fires have been declared between warring factions to better fight the invisibly shared, and more immediate, common enemy. What more need be said...

Can any of it be sustained? Hope springs eternal. On a personal level, here is the hard part:

We are inherently social beings; like most animals we function better in packs. This self-imposed solitary confinement is unnatural (hence its use in prison). We need human touch and affirmation - the completely necessary effort to constrain our natural tendency to gather is near to breaking. We can only distract ourselves for so long by taking interminably long walks, watching endless YouTube videos and baking bread. Truthfully, we are balanced on a mental knife edge and there will be damage.

Transformative events occur from the reassessment of priorities under duress. The norm is challenged and replaced by the reordering of what now matters. In this awful way we as a society evolve, refine the human condition and hopefully learn.

Hang in there. It's OK to be sad, we are all grieving in so many ways. I try to remember to be grateful for my circumstances and to be a bit more gracious. I tell myself this too shall pass...


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