Pandemic Time: Replacing a Future We Dread with A Present We Can Handle
I am sitting outside, on my deck, looking at the garden at my feet⎼ red begonias, lavender impatiens, white zinnias and other flowers. It’s early morning. Last night there was, finally, a good rain. And although the sky is relatively clear and the sun is out, the air is beautifully cool. There is a sense in the air, or in me, that all this is fast disappearing. That I need to dig down deep into this moment before it, and all these flowers, are gone.
Part of this feeling is because it is the last week of August and summer is nearing its end. After teaching for 30 years, and going to school for nearly 20, August often feels like it’s a slide into autumn, into school and work with winter to follow.
This is especially true this year. Due to the pandemic, I have so much more unscheduled time, and so much time is absorbed by news reports and worries about the future. When will the pandemic end? Will there be a second wave? What new atrocities will DT commit? Will we have a constitution after November? With the election in front of us, the end of summer is fraught with so much more anxiety. And if we’re not observant, it could vacuum up all our attention.
Living through DT and the coronavirus in the spring, summer and even the fall, when we can be outside much of the time, is one thing. Doing it in winter will be much more difficult.
And how do we or our children face going back to school? There are just too many unknowns. Too many dangers. And whatever is decided about how school will look at the end of August or in September, could all change quickly and dramatically, as it did last spring. School used to be a stable part of our culture. No more. Very little of what used to provide stability and clarity can do that now.
So, how do we find a sense of stability and clarity during the time of the pandemic, or when everything inside us cries for, or dreads, dramatic change? When we can’t wait any longer for an end to the pandemics of the coronavirus and racism. When we want justice, now. When we want leaders who will put the needs of the nation and we, the people, first. No half measures are acceptable. We want so much because things are so bad and so little is predictable.
Maybe we can find ways to work both on social-political issues and to find stability and clarity inside ourselves. By taking action, we show ourselves that we have the autonomy and strength to do so. We face our anxiety over the future by working now to create the future we need….
To read the whole article, go to The Good Men Project.