Pandemic Protocol…. Distancing When What We Seek is Connection

                  “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”  Christopher Reeves

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I’m afraid.

This last week has put me on edge.  At times, almost over the edge.

I’m consuming hours of television broadcasts that make my fears and anxiety rise exponentially with each ‘breaking news’ story.

Can anyone stop this virus?  

Will we have answers soon?

Will our food run out?  

Is it safe to go to a grocery store…especially those of us over 60?

Who do we trust…with our very lives?  

Do we have the right leaders in place to guide us through this crisis?  

Is this a short-term concern….or weeks…or months?

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Guessing I am not alone in asking these questions.

These crucial, critical, frightening questions.

We are, in unison, seeking accurate information as we simultaneously desire to detach from the horror gripping our planet.

We attempt to normalize things.

We dare to venture outdoors….take a walk, feel the sun on our face, breathe the outside air….but when passing others on the street, we hold our breath, we are cautious, maintaining distance.  At least 6 feet, we are told.

We wear colorful surgical gloves rushing through a store pushing our carts.

I spy someone wearing a mask…nose and mouth covered in thin fabric… wondering if he or she is sick….or are they attempting to protect themselves….from me.

We sit, isolated, in the confines of our apartments, houses, condos, villages, towns, cities, States….physically separate from one another….when what we deeply desire right now is companionship, community, contact.
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We need connection in this imposed time of isolation.

Fortunately, we live in a time when relating can occur via electronic devices.

We Facetimed with our friends Leslie and Greg, and with our son Jeremy and his fiance, Danielle last night in West Palm Beach.  We shared our virus concerns, but also caught up on the positive news of each other’s lives, even laughed a little.  We did the same with our son John yesterday, returning home to Boston from a virus-shortened vacation in Key West….again, sharing in the moments he experienced while traveling with his friend, Jason….a sunset sail, a wine tasting….those special moments that for now are on hold.

Today,  John sent photos of a deserted, empty market….stunning pictures of sparsity in the land of milk and honey.  But tucked into and peeking from his purchases….a bouquet of flowers.

Hope.

I share John’s idealism and optimism.

There are gifts to be gained, lessons to be learned.

I know it…I have seen and felt them.Unknown

We just returned from Florida.  The first stop on our way to St. John’s for a three-week vacation…that was not to be.  We returned home on a packed flight Sunday night to an empty refrigerator since our plan was for five consecutive weeks away….to a large box filled with paper towels, toilet paper, and Lysol spray greeting us as we walked through the door of our condo…courtesy of loving, sweet neighbors.

Friends are reaching out….more than usual….in texts, emails.  My friend, Paula and I, had a lovely, intimate conversation, face to face, on a site called doxy.me.

Facebook posts are sharing uplifting poems, or quotes that unite us or renew our warrior spirit.

The world may heal from this pandemic.

I understand from what I have read that the slow down in production has resulted in clean air over China; Venice supposedly has fish swimming again in its canals; the massive, polluting cruise ships are docked, saving our oceans for the time being.

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Borders between states, countries, are flimsy at best.  Regardless of the language you speak, your gender, your ethnicity, your beliefs, your politics, the color of your skin….we are ONE facing this crisis.

And….my own personal gifts and lessons are evolving.

Forced to pause and slow down to a snail’s pace…I am awake, aware.  My senses are keen.  My emotions heightened.  My internal experiences sharpened.

I realize, even in this unusual situation, I do have some control.

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I can turn off the television….I can listen to music.

Music is transforming for me….happily consumed by the sounds, words….I become one with the melody and the moment.  As I type this, Janis is singing “Bobby McGee” on my Sonos system.  “Dust in the Wind” came on next…apropos for our shared situation. I played air guitar to “The Sultans of Swing” about an hour ago….and looked at my husband, Dennis, with a deep sense of love and devotion as I sang along with John Legend,  to “All of Me”.  We danced together in our living room to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”.

Last night, we became absorbed in a movie….for over two hours….forgetting the strange enemy that lurks outside.

I have oodles of time to do what I love to do….write, read.  Dennis wants to teach me how to play chess.  I can finally address the 18,000 photos on my computer.  I am meditating again, without fighting the urge to step into a busy life.

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I have moments when I ponder the possibility of a higher power orchestrating all this….compelling mankind to wake up!

Are we, perhaps, in a cosmic, spiritual learning curve….engaging our collective human spirit and soul as we reject the enormous importance we have placed on material things?  Will we lessen our quest for greed and tune into the seriousness of saving our planet?  Is it possible that we will maintain this slower, healthier pace once the chaos dissipates?

Is this that once in a lifetime opportunity to appreciate and embrace our differences and realize we are all in this thing called ‘life’…. together?

We are learning.

I am optimistic.

I have hope.

 

 

 

 

 

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