I don’t think anyone would disagree that we’re going through a challenging and frightening time – pandemic, global warming, massive fires, catastrophic floods, earthquakes …. Add to these our private crises, especially losing loved ones to Covid.
Not much reason to be happy these days or even optimistic. Yet, what’s the alternative? Waste time being constantly morose ? Be paralyzed by fear? Throw in whatever towel we have left?
My middle name isn’t Pollyanna, but I guess I’m a stubborn believer in “where there’s life….” On the other hand, I’m painfully aware of what the pandemic has cost me in unrecoverable time with my grandchildren, jettisoned travel plans, and lost opportunities to publicize my books since social distancing rules out in-person author talks. Yet from another view, what’s so bad about having uninterrupted time for the work we love without compulsory time-consuming appointments? I’m not talking solely about writers. How many people forced to do their jobs at home have discovered new and fulfilling ways to work, as well as hours saved from traveling? (And how many are reluctant to return to “normal” life in an office!)
In her novel “The Weight of Ink,” Rachel Kadish graphically describes life during the Bubonic Plague in 16th century London. It was almost impossible for families and friends to find out who was still alive, since the only means of communication was by word of mouth and it was dangerous to venture out. The isolation made a horrifying situation far worse. Imagine how they would have felt if they’d had our technical marvels!
So instead of pounding the wall in frustration, I’m folding my hands in gratitude for such connections as phones and Zoom. It’s even brought me new friends. True we haven’t met in person (yet), but friendship blooms surprisingly in technological soil. I’ve also found healthy distraction in the abundant on-line courses that are available and usually free.
Ironically my long-distance relationships feel closer because there’s a sense of our being in this together. I’m more patient with quirks that used to seem important and I feel increasing tenderness not only towards my family, but my friends, students, neighbors. If we have to endure this plague, let’s at least find value in being in it together.
I’m reminded of when my grandson was a wily seven-year-old, trying to bargain his way out of a task he didn’t like. Not even knowing what the word meant he asked, “What’s my option?”
That’s a good question. Let’s opt for good answers.
BOOKS: COME and GO – available through BookBaby.com; WIDOW’S WALK –iUniverse.com; TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW –Xlibris.com, TEN WOMEN OF VALOR and ROLE PLAY – Amazon.com; also Amazon Kindle.