If you have ever watched the movie Pleasantville, there is a part where the actors go in and out of color to black and white in the TV. This image has stayed with me, through the times when I feel things are out of balance, out of control, and chaotic. This is certainly one of those times.
All of us are doing the best we can to survive in a climate that requires standing strong and sturdy as if in the middle of a tornado. We seem to have little control over many things that we were able to navigate before. The fear, anxiety, grief and stress, as well as the constant exposure to cacophony of news reports have created havoc in our central nervous system. I see it every day in myself and others. It’s as if our brains are short-circuiting. One minute we think one way and the next minute we believe the opposite.
Hard to gain clarity in the muck.
Social media, which once held a space for people to share joys and sorrows and to connect, has become somewhat of a battleground, turning friends and family members against each other, “unfriending” for having opinions and beliefs other than their own. No more signs of “agree to disagree”. Instead “you are either with us or against us”!
Of course the political climate contributes to such division, if we let it.
As David Kessler, Grief expert, reminded us recently, “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat”. We are all dealing with the storm the best we know how. But if we want all our boats to ride the storm safely, we need to look at ways to get along and understand each other. It’s the only way out.
We are all mirroring the best and worst parts of ourselves through each other. Inside each of us reside many parts that are expressed according to circumstance. In my view, as we have become immune to other pandemics, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, even influenza that take many lives every year, our cup of tolerance seems to have runeth over with this novel situation. Maybe rightfully so. We are navigating through the stages of grief, in a microcosm as well as macrocosm..
My hope is that we consider that everyone, whether we agree with them or not, is worthy of compassion. Only then we can ride each of our boats out of the storm into safety.
Persian poet Saadi, wrote a poem eight century ago that later became a motto on the entrance of the United Nations building. Saadi, eloquently manifested:
“The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human.”
We cannot get to safety by leaving a limb behind. Let’s consider how we can look outside of our differences and find a common ground. We Keep saying “we are all in this together”, so let’s ALL be in this together.
Now there are many hopeful acts of kindness that have emerged through this chaos. People have been caring for each other, making and donating masks, feeding the hungry, checking on elders. This is heartwarming and needs to be nurtured to last.
I have hope and I pray for the day that the storm is over, the rainbow is out, and we can look back and say “we did this all together”. You may say I’m a dreamer.. Hopefully I’m not the only one!
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow