In These Times – 2020
In These Times – 2020: Ralph Waldo Emerson warns us, “He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”
I have been waiting to write this article, but I was hoping this year would get better for humanity before I did. Most of us know, it is much easier to procrastinate rather than face concerns head-on. That “some-day” philosophy gets us no real pleasure. Now it is June, almost six months almost gone for the year 2020. So much is out of our control.
Life on earth is changing dramatically and at warp speed. We are facing hunger, homelessness, jobless, and Mother Nature has gone dangerously wonky, and climate change has caused many deaths directly and indirectly as secondary causes. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them,” advised Albert Einstein.
Most of us are afraid or just too stubborn to make the needed changes due to climate change. What game is this, where the Pandemic has us isolated, masked, and acting insane? Are we playing Hide & Seek with death? Or, maybe, Marco Polo, the blind tag game, with dire – life and death consequences? We are like balloons drifting aimlessly, and ready to burst any moment. This could be because humanity has the tendency to look outside rather than within, which is quite understandable when face-to-face with impermanence.
The Human Face
We may feel empathy for others like those oppressed by their skin color, or race. We should never judge people based on those who think or look differently than us. If we want to find out what is really behind a protester’s mask or a policeman’s badge, we must look deeply into their eyes for understanding. I think Agatha Christie, mystery writer, said it best, “The human face is, after all, nothing more nor less than a mask.” This literally means that our true faces only show what we want the world to see, and not what we truly feel. We cannot see bigotry or animosity. Most of us hide such emotions. Sometimes we even smile to hide our real emotions.
What Spooks us the Most?
The National Institute of Mental Health advised that about 6.7 percent of the population experience major depression and bipolar disorder, and about 3 percent experience a generalized anxiety disorder. Phobias leave us homeless and isolated, living in temporary paper castles. Nevertheless, who of us is well when the whole globe is facing a pandemic? Are we lonely? Are we afraid? Do we have the sniffles and fear the worse?
Solitude and Isolation
Henry Cloud is an American Christian and self-help author who advises us, “There is a difference between solitude and isolation. One is connected, and one is not. Solitude replenishes, isolation diminishes.” Now we need to wear masks and practice social distancing. We have lost control of our social norms. I cannot imagine how those with their phobias are managing today with all the ruckus of Covid-19?
As for myself, I enjoy being alone to percolate and write. There is a big difference between solitude and isolation. Humanity right now needs to isolate to continue to survive. Unfortunately, fear is as contagious as the Covid-19. Now is the time to educate ourselves to understand more, so we can be fearless. Bertrand Russell says, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
In these times, not working eats at our self-esteem on the inside. This can create monsters. Nelson Mandela says, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Like many others, I fear our unknown future. I fear the police will disband, and the government will take over. It is the government that should be disbanded and started over with more regard for the Constitution and We the People.
Nothing is perfectly normal…never was…never will be. But it seems like everything is deadly now. Food. Water. The air we breathe? The sun? The police? Who of us mothers used Johnson & Johnson baby powder on our infants when firstborn? I did on four of them. We all fear Cancer. The Chemo that kills Cancer was directly responsible for killing my husband. It nuked his lungs so bad; he could no longer breathe on his own. Additionally, some of us fear possible oncoming diseases, that rack our bodies and minds like Arthritis and Alzheimer’s. We must be brave, like the millions of protesters taking to the streets and risking their own lives while promoting love and equality for all races.
Many of us want to change the world back the way it was when concerts and socializing were just fun. Rumi reminds us, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Yes, all of us have to change to promote goodwill and kindness. As a new widow, I had to adapt to survive my grief. All that I was worried about came to be true, but I succeeded in surmounting comfortably as a grieving widow.
With my newfound freedom came many responsibilities. I must cook. I must manage money. I lost my chauffeur. I calm my fears by praying nightly and occasionally, partaking in a glass of wine at bedtime. Before going to sleep, we should all pray what is called the children’s prayer. However, it is beautiful for all of us: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. If I should live another day, I pray the Lord to guide my way. My favorite song for uplifting is Give Me Your Eyes from Brandon Heath.