How Shall We Rise? Reflection from the Holidays…

I think it’s safe to say that both Passover and Easter felt surreally REAL this year, though on a very human scale: The plague. The grim reality of how foolish we can be. The potential, even, for a fundamental shift toward something…better…

How do we ensure that the damage being done by both the virus and its cure are not in vain? How do we use this experience to be better stewards of each other and this planet we share?

This is not a demand upon those on the front lines, upon those for whom healing is the task at hand. Getting better at valuing and tending to ourselves and each other is part of the point here.

I have heard from some very successful folks that it’s best to see every crisis as a learning experience…every fall as an opportunity for a “bounce”…shall we give it a go? How will we rise?

There are certainly unintended consequences here — some, even, really good ones in terms of communities coming together, spirits of giving and cooperation, incredible innovation and air that is more breathable than it’s been in decades.

While the nonsense hasn’t stopped entirely, there does seem to be renewed interest in truth, overcoming false oppositions, tearing down unnecessary walls and giving our best to foster healthy systems. I know that, for me, this experience has filled my heart with gratitude for those giving it their best and for things I may have taken for granted before almost as much as it has wrenched it with the lesser stuff — I have cried more than once at the sound of a voice that echoes the hope and care I have for others as we stumble our way through this all together.

I’m not really whitewashing any of this, though I choose very deliberately to focus on what seems helpful, I realize clearly that we are suffering grim losses, and have enormous tasks before us.

It’s more that I think it’s deeply imperative that — if we are to make our future any better — we have to give it our best to use every opportunity available to make it better…That, as our EMTs, doctors, nurses, so many essential others are going through hell on Earth, it’s incumbent upon all who can to make coming out the other side the best it can possibly be.

They are doing exceptionally heroic things — every life they save, every life-saving system they save from collapse is a victory in its own right — still, we should do all we can to help ensure they don’t have to do this again. That we are healthier and better prepared as a whole.

The status quo — while filled with a number of delights I am more grateful for than ever — was not our best path forward. The Millennials have been righteously pissed off for a while now. Much of Gen Z, on many levels, seems grimly resigned to the hell we’ve been marching toward. X’s are known for long rolling our eyes in similar frustration at the futility of it all, while most Boomers resigned themselves to the status quo a long time ago.

Now, that status quo has been about as disrupted as it can be without actual physical destruction of the machinery. Apparently, in some ways, even as my downstate area struggles with having more cases than any other COUNTRY in the world, we’ve also managed to exceed statisticians expectations regarding how we’d behave — in a really good and hopeful way…heck, the biggest challenges seem to have involved people who simply want to be together. We’re coming out of this economically devastated, that’s for sure, but it’s almost more mental than physical…again, not denying reality, but…you saw the pictures after Sandy right? Or Fukashima? Nashville? Puerto Rico? This is not quite like that…While there are deeply practical aspects, the challenge is, I guess, more…spiritual….in a way…

What IS our best path forward? What, of these things we have “paused” might it be best to just “stop”? How do we reinforce and carry the good stuff — like a better baseline respiratory situation for EVERYONE — forward? What, dear friends, will we do next?

I pray we give it our best, offering humbled, grateful thanks for all who are already doing so, and who have been doing so all along. You guys are the reason we’ve gotten this far already, and that we haven’t yet fully let the turkeys get us down.

I hope we get better at focusing and building on your positive momentums…

They matter.

Thank you…