Sometimes some of us travel to get away. That space—that distance—from our home life offers perspective and breathing room. We get a chance to reflect on what is beautiful and what is broken. Often, we return refreshed, reinvigorated to dig in or embrace or forgive or simply slip back into our normal with a sigh of relief and acceptance. Sometimes leaving home is what protects it.
Safer at home
Now, we are home and unable to find much distance. It is true we are safer at home; this is also where we are most benevolent to other humans and this earth. What do we yearn for? Connection with the outside, other worlds. For me, travel and home are yin and yang: they are separate, but exist as a whole. One heals the other.
What we do in the time of Corona
We cannot venture far at the moment, but we can venture, cautiously together but apart physically, to raise salutes and lights and song and gusty cheers to our medical community. We gather, standing apart on our balconies or porches or at our windows to stand for each other, lifting our voices in a Santo Espíritu song; our voices may be thin and weak on their own, but together they chorus in perfect harmony. How is that?
We see, because we must have space between us for a time, what we have taken for granted in the wild busyness of our “normal” lives. Our eyes are open to other’s sacrifices, to the frailty of our fathers and mothers, to the bravery of our governors scratching for answers to turn the iceberg around until their fingers are bloody, to the innocent carpe diem of our children, to the faith of the body that we, indeed, will overcome and rise again to our “normal.”
We fill lunch sacks for hungry children displaced from school. We sew masks from fabric we might have inherited from our mothers. We unite online in song circles to create new music. We journal this time knowing it will remain significant in our lives. We make December babies. I will never wonder again why my grandmother kept a constant store of canned vegetables on her porch…”just in case.” We will walk—oh, walk!—inhaling the sweet Spring air, sunning our faces and waving (at a safe distance) to neighbors we don’t know. Now we keep the space because, “What if we infect them?” rather than, “What if they are one of the ones?”
The list goes on
We stand in front of our bookshelves, maybe for the first time, to peruse book titles. To read, oh joy! We FaceTime our grandchildren to talk silly or read to them, just like we did their parents not so long ago, longing to inhale the scent of them again. We wait patiently in line to get groceries for a neighbor. We ruffle our furry friend’s ears a little longer, returning the look of thanks and devotion. The list goes on, doesn’t it? And, who knows what we will feel called to be or do next? The answer? We…
As I write this, alone with the sun streaming through the windows of my very sanitized and safe home, our collective generation is getting inked with a reminder not to take toilet paper or chocolate or health or touch or church or the freedom to move about the planet or voting or scientists or raising a glass with friends or sporting events or concerts or local businesses or work or the nearness of another for granted. The list goes on, doesn’t it?
We, together, carry on.