It has been a tumultuous 2020, with several more weeks to go. The news here in USA from the Covid-19 battle front are grim, with all time highs in various measures, be they daily infections, daily deaths, total hospitalizations and total infections. Within our own households, we have our own unique circumstances and challenges. Much has been communicated about the anticipated dangers in the winter months ahead. We are fatigued. How can we continue to cope?
How did generations before us cope during the multi-year world wars? There was “hope” that people clung to. Hope that appeared time and again. Man is a persistent species. In this pandemic period, the vaccine beckons as hope, that immunization will allow (adapted) life to continue. It matters not if others do not vaccinate, what matters is our own decision.
How should we then wait before mass vaccinations? Perhaps the first step is to examine the label we are now using, namely, “coping.” This label implies we are in a situation where there’s an externality that has disrupted our usual patterns, our lives. And we yearn for said externality to no longer pose a threat, to go away, so that we can resume our usual patterns and lives.
So, is there a better label than “coping?” What about “metamorphosizing”? Can this curtailed period be one in which like the caterpillar, we become convicted of what matters in life, and resolved to carve more time, more energy, more resources for it, post-curtailment? So that life after vaccination is one that no longer mirrors pre-pandemic life?
But what if this externality (i.e. pandemic) has a silver lining that we have overlooked? While the disruptions had real adverse impacts on our lives, many have gained precious time that was wasted in rush hour commutes, in mindless window-shopping excursions, etc. Time was given back to us. But if our mindset, our expectations is to cope, and we are anxious to resume our usual patterns and lives, then, this time given was likely squandered. A quick self-test is whether one can fill more than a few pages to share with grandchildren in the future how such time yielded un-planned blooms in one’s life.
Perhaps this quote from Bruce Lee, the famous martial artist actor can help with that inner metamorphosis:
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
I recognize some are struggling mightily with the pandemic-related impositions and adversities. That there are severe psychological, emotional and mental struggles. Hopefully, they have loved ones who are supporting them. If nothing else, this pandemic has revealed that without love, one has nothing, one has gained nothing (1 Cor 13:2-3). And with that insight, if all we can do post-pandemic is to sow abundant love, we have lived a rich life indeed.