During this time of renewal and growth, the world crossed the strange mark of one year of pandemic; however, the pandemic is still going strong in many places due to pandemic fatigue, acute loneliness and sheer impatience on the parts of many to “get back” into living again. I am not sure what everyone has been doing in the meantime. I hope one day we can say we’ve learned something from this, but I am fearful that the pandemic journey is perceived as nothing more than an aberration, which is unfortunate as we clearly needed some of the changes wrought by the challenges we’ve faced. We have also been seriously reminded that capitalism requires constant demand in order to flourish. But when the means and opportunities for meeting needs are often curtailed or significantly reduced, the whole system becomes terribly dysfunctional. What does that mean for the future?
Perhaps the best kind of answer to the challenges of pandemic, social meltdown and dysfunction is to begin again . . . this time, with love. We have a remarkable opportunity, after a year of separations, to count our friends and loved ones as blessings. We have a chance to regain our sense of community and concern with one another, while re-learning how to be listeners face-to-face, how to take on concerns and even sorrows in ways that can lead to healing and wholeness. It is a rare moment within our grasp and I trust that we will find ways to reach out and be present to and with one another. Maybe not immediately but soon, if we continue to take precautions with rationality and grace. After so long in social isolation and lockdown we may need to prepare ourselves to meet each other all over again.
While all is not over and vaccinations only good enough to help mitigate the effects of illness, should we become inadvertently infected, might we want to alter our thinking about our notions that the pandemic is over and find ways to cope over the long haul? In other words, it will be wise for a long time to come to consider the high risks and possibilities before acting on travel, socializing and attending in groups any public event with or without a mask. A surge like that which is happening in Europe and still happening in parts of the US, could be devastating after so much work to stay healthy for the past year. Caution might be preferred.
Leaving our winter shelters, heading into spring, we enter what some have named “the nervous season”, in large part due to the seasonal unpredictability for these next weeks until the beginning of summer. The earth has rebalanced into equal hours of light and darkness of the spring equinox as something rises within. Each day now has two and half hours more light per day than there was in December and lengthening daily. Amidst the rebirth within is the radical shift in perspective receiving more light and more hours per day to enjoy it. Even in the unpredictability, the reality of change is all around as our restive spirits rise with expectation and a fair bit a longing.
We may remember the springs of our childhood. I can still vividly recall the scent of lilacs in May and the sense of melancholy for what I did not yet know about life. Is it innocence? To this day, the scent of lilacs sends me reeling and engenders a ravenous appetite for more. I have often said, “Lilacs . . .the only flower I want to steal from a neighbor’s garden.” What are your memories, hopes and hungers in this season?