Friday, March 19, 2021

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, March 20, 2021 - Prepare for Togetherness

Back when I was an actor I noticed an odd phenomenon about the memorization of my lines. In preparation for a show it never troubled me to memorize long bits of dialogue or song. I had a little method I devised for myself of tape recording everyone else’s lines leaving space for my own. I’d play back the tape and be my own scene partner to practice. 

However, there was always a point at which I’d be the most vulnerable to forgetting all that I’d learned. Well not all, but usually the most important parts. 

It was the second performance.

Second night performances were always the most treacherous for my lines. Sometimes my costume changes as well, if they were particularly complicated. It got so that on the second day I’d take extra precautions to make sure I wasn’t being overconfident on the heels of a good opening night.

Right now it’s possible to see a little light on the edge of the horizon. We have been through a year far more tragic than we can presently comprehend. The earthquake is still occurring, and the buildings are still falling. Even ones we had concluded were indestructible since they lasted all year just fine amid the constant shaking. But they can be felled too. 

Part of the problem is that the disease resulting from the virus can take every form from the sniffles to suffocation, organ failure and nerve damage. Sometimes the disease is all better in a matter of weeks and for some it has never left them. All ages can be affected, all levels of health can be vulnerable.  And that is the key to its most exhausting component: the unknowable. Humans are far better at coping with things that we can understand or predict than we are with the unpredictable. The devil you know.

We have existed in this limbo state for so long, simultaneously with every other member of the human race, that it will alter the course of humanity forever. The scar left from this experience will become part of the landscape. And we are still in the process of being wounded. 

But the vaccines have begun to arrive. And, for the first time, we feel a bit more confident at making the prediction that all shall be well. Now that the vaccines have been rolling out, however slowly that may understandably be, we are beginning our intake of breath prior to the sigh of relief.

But as we have already seen elsewhere in the world recently, letting our guard down too soon, being too overconfident just as we were getting good at protecting ourselves and memorizing our lines, leads to another wave of disaster before this tragedy ends. We are not out of the woods yet. And this final chapter may be the most dangerous so far. 

That light on the horizon exists nonetheless. We can see it. We believe it is coming closer. This is when we need to be a wind at the back of progress. The solution needs us. It needs our prayers, it needs our continuing and sustained signal of our desire to thrive by wearing our masks a bit longer and encouraging others around us to remain safe for this final wave en route toward us as we speak.

Togetherness is at hand, but it is not here yet. Prepare for that time. It is coming so fast it will be here before we know it. The summer is coming. And in all likelihood we will emerge into it. The pandemic will not quite yet be over, however. And there will still be precautions to take. We must be prepared to follow them as well.

Let’s prepare for the togetherness. Let’s imagine what it will be like to embrace one another again. To just sit near others and not be afraid. To hold hands. To visit everyone. Imagine how valuable togetherness will feel!

Does that ring a louder bell in the universe? Will our embrace send a stronger vibration than before? I feel instinctively yes. I don’t have much to back it up. But doesn’t it seem logical that hugging will take on a new dimension of value as this year unfolds? Would God feel it, too?

Commit to being a part of it. Commit to preserving as much life as we possibly can between now and that day. Prepare for togetherness by ensuring that there are as many people as possible left. Pull everyone you can into the lifeboats. They can take on more than we think.

Receive the vaccine when it’s your turn. Encourage others to do the same. But perhaps even more importantly, be at ease with those who break the guidelines or choose not to get vaccinated. Your anger will not change them. Create peace for yourself by staying safe and healthy and forgive them from a social distance. There will be no value to you spending the rest of the pandemic being angry with them. Preserve your peace and strength for better things.

Make a point of sharing optimism about the future with others. Depression right now is real and pervasive. Get under the skin of it. Go for a walk. I went for a fantastic walk the other day with a good friend. We were talking on headphones while each walking on opposite sides of the city from one another. We both felt better afterward. Do that.

Don’t participate in negative discussions online. Make it a mission to educate, but gently. Teach others through your example of calm and loving responses to harsh words and accusations. Love your enemy online especially. Let everyone see it. Be at ease around those whose rage controls them. They are worse off than you. They could use a bit of your strength and ease right now. You have far more than you think.

Let these last few months be a time of preparation and renewal. But still maintain vigilance on the simple steps we already know to be more than enough to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities. 

We will all be together soon enough. Make sure you are there when it happens.

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