Behind a Veil of Tears
Dear Friends and Family,
It feels like we are coming to the end of the pandemic. I know that’s not exactly true because just about everyone I know has had COVID. Still, worldwide the number of deaths has dropped from approximately 15,000 a day, at the peak, to 1500 a day. In the United States our numbers have dropped from approximately 3300 deaths a day to 375. So, it’s not over, but the end is near.
And yet…I feel unsettled. Not joyous or relieved as I thought I might but rather, unsettled. If the pandemic is ending, now what? As much as I tried to live in the moment, finding joy and gratitude in having out adult daughter at home with us for an unexpected year, in being welcomed into the Homies Empowerment community, in becoming part of the Ananda Martial Arts and Fitness Academy family, in creating an Anti-Racist Dialogue Group, in growing closer to our neighbors during Hula Hoop Happy Hour and Curbside Trick-or-Treating, there was a secret part of me that was waiting for the pandemic to end, to get back to normal.
But what is normal? The striving for some future goal, future accomplishment, future validation that my time on Earth has been worth it? Well, in that case, the pandemic WAS normal because I was secretly living for some future date without COVID.
But striving for some future goal, some future accomplishment is striving for death. It is the cause of suffering. Striving for some future joy or peace or happiness deprives us of those very things in the here and now. It is, in fact, a myth sold to us and perpetuated by the systems of capitalism and white supremacy.
Last month my father-in-law passed away. This month, we attended a celebration of life for a neighbor and friend who, at the young age of 43, passed away suddenly (not from COVID). And now, a beloved family member, one of two million in this country, is fighting an opioid addiction with almost no support from our broken healthcare system.
How can I find joy or peace or happiness in the here and now when I am living behind this veil of tears?
At the beginning of the pandemic I wrote:
This—what we are living in right now—is the new normal. There’s no point in waiting for it to all be over, for life to get back to normal. This is normal. This is life. And, we have no guarantee we will have anything other than what we have right now, in this very moment. –April 2, 2020
Right now, this very moment is hard. Not just on a personal level, but also a communal level—from the hurricanes in Cuba and Florida to the floods in Nigeria and Australia to the wildfires here and across the world. Yet, I know the only way out is through and the only way through is with each other. And so, I return to the beginning of the pandemic when my goals were to spend my time:
1. Being with my husband and daughter.
2. Connecting with my friends and family.
3. Taking in the beauty of oceans or lakes or mountains or deserts.
4. Creating something of truth or beauty or joy.
5. Making amends.
6. Helping others.
None of that has changed. I still want to do all these things, even if I must do them from behind a veil of tears.
The only way out is through and with each other, so may we be healthy, safe, and loved, most important loved, as we make the journey.