I remember times when we could move in and out of each others lives without second guessing the wisdom of close encounters, sharing laughs and songs, music and chatter. I am sure you do, too. These past months have shown us how limited that freedom now is. We don’t like it. We feel confined, scared at times, at best, cautious. We have to think for ourselves and make our own decisions regardless of governmental announcements and that state can be confounding, overwhelming. I flit like a butterfly between overwhelment and decisiveness, caught up in the barrelling winds, soaked in the rain of it all, only finding rest inside my own home and alone. Many, many folk will know how this feels and for now we can see no end to this battering.
However, being forced to think and to make our own informed choices about what we do, where we go and whom we meet with is good for our brains. We are not schoolchildren. We have autonomy no matter the restrictions laid down for us. They are very important, nonetheless because nobody really has a Scooby about this virus and its dastardly plans. Is it dying or is it morphing into something even more destructive? Nobody knows, not the governments, not the scientists, not the medical profession for this enemy is invisible, secretive and immensely powerful. We move through each day with caution, most of us, and as we wake up our immensely powerful brains, we have to stand for what we believe in, even if it upsets someone else, or many someone elses. This is not an easy thing to do for we all want to fit in. We second guess ourselves. Is this decision not to attend a gathering based on wisdom, my wisdom, or fear, my fear? Well, the answer is both. We need awareness of fear, the knowledge of it, the inner study. We need, in short, to think and to question those thinks.
Not so long ago, wars raged for real with military ranks marching into battle. Those left at home faced huge restrictions, fear for the fighting men and women, shortage of food, of warmth, of security. Time dragged, days rolled into a long line of misery and frustration but in the middle of all that confusion, individuals stood strong. Mothers queued for many hours to make sure their children could eat bread. Young women and the men who could not make it to the battlefields, entered into the intelligence services. Folk butterflied in hospitals, on the streets, in soup kitchens, in schools, helping elderly neighbours, working on farms and in many other ways. The country pulled together because of the war, in spite of it because the human spirit will not be defeated.
We are in a different war now, but it is war nonetheless and every single one of us can do something to make life a bit better for someone else. Many have been bereaved and they need comfort. Many are lost in fear and isolation, the loneliness chipping away at their self-confidence, spinning in confusion unable to see more than one step ahead. They need friendship and connectivity, even remotely, through a window, on the phone, through a zoom or a text. I’m thinking of you. We will not emerge from this unscarred, none of us will. It has shifted the tectonic plates of our thinking, played shinty with our beliefs and shattered the structure of all we heretofore believed solid and strong.
And now Christmas is almost upon us, one filled with concerns and ditherments. Do we, should we, can we, ought we? I shake my head. I have no idea what to do. I know what my heart wants, as do you but if we look beyond our obvious desires, what do we want to see? Good health, yes. A future without viral attack, yes. But a vision requires restrictions in the present. Not at all comfortable. However we are fools if we pretend everything is okay or bury our heads and hope we won’t be the one to get sick, won’t be party to bringing sickness in for others. It is, in the end, all down to individual decision, popular or not. Easy to say, I know. Damn hard to stand strong and light in confinement and darkness.
In Spring, the butterfly is a wiggly worm, a maggot, a nothing much. Inside the safety of its cocoon, it develops beauty. Then, one fine day, it breaks out to enchant anyone who sees it. This unbelievable metamorphosis is only believable because we know it will happen. In these dark times, in the wind and the rain and the uncertainty, vision, trust and faith are everything. If we are patient, careful, considerate and with an eye to the future, the lucky ones will emerge and fly once again in new colours, even more beautiful than before.