All That was Left was the Okra

It struck me as oddly bizarre, in these crazy times, to notice that all that was left on the frozen food shelves was the okra.  I wish I’d taken a photo.  It felt like a snapshot of these times.  

I’ve been wanting, needing, to write over these past few weeks, but have felt paralyzed by all that was playing out around me, not sure what needed to be shared.

But this morning, I woke up early, inspired.  For the first time in a while, looking forward to what the day might bring.  Not in terms of what new challenges the virus had in store, but rather, in what might be created during these wild and challenging times.

Like most of us, I’d been glued to CNN and the internet for hours on end, scrolling through the latest about numbers of infections, numbers of deaths, watching the migration of those numbers from China, to Italy, and then the first case, here.  Then closures began, travel slowed, entire countries were closing their doors, the stock market was in free fall.  All of a sudden, the giant machine that was the global economy, life as we knew it, came to slow, painful, grinding halt…

Like so many, my sources of income dried up almost overnight and along with that, the way I spent most of my time.  Holy cow. Now what?  More news, more speeches, more closures for two weeks, two months, indefinitely!  

But at a certain point, I got tired of being afraid. The news was numbing.  I had begun to worry about eating fresh fruit, opening the mail, accepting change from the cashier. Where did it end? When would it end?

There would be no quick fix to this one.  It was going to be a long hard slog.  So, the question became how to survive the unknown?  What would sustain us, keep us safe, but also sane? How could we avoid sinking into a pit of depression and despair?

I am reminded of the ‘Tower’ card in the tarot deck – it signifies the complete falling apart, the breaking down, of old systems, old paradigms.  But, it also implies the possibility of new beginnings. From the ashes the phoenix rises.  

This period of time feels like a giant re-set button.  We will not be able to go back to “normal,” not the way we’ve known it.  Out of necessity, we are learning new ways of working, new ways of connecting, new ways of behaving.  

Circles and circles are forming, reaching out and checking in.  Volunteers are stepping up to help those most vulnerable. Those who have the funds are helping support those who do not. And creativity is thriving as we seek to find new purpose and service in a world that seems to have gone insane. 

So, this is what I am finding: embrace the quiet. Minimize the news, stop feeding the panic.  After the shock wears off, we may notice there don’t seem to be as many phone calls, the emails have slowed considerably, there are fewer distractions.  Surrender to the fact that so much of this is beyond our control, take a deep breath, and find gratitude for all that we do have.

In the quiet, lies the promise. In the quiet there is space for something new to be discovered. Perhaps it’s remembering priorities we’d forgotten. Families we worked so hard to provide for, yet never appreciated or enjoyed enough.  Or, perhaps there is a long-forgotten dream we never had time to consider that is now rising to the surface with possibility. For some trapped at a desk for hours at a time, there is the opportunity to rediscover that there is a world out there, a beautiful bountiful one, and that they have a body and a spirit, and not just a mind.

This is in no way to diminish to hardship we will face, the challenges we will encounter, potentially, the loved ones we will lose.  But I cannot stay sane and get up each morning if that is all I consider, if I let myself drown in fear and lack and isolation.

So, I choose to believe that we are creative and resourceful.  That there is so much good and generosity out there.  That we can choose to feed love and hope.  That we can weather this with kindness and respect. That we will come through this together.

Virtual hugs to you all.

To your journey.

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