One of these days, morning will dawn on a world where this will have all passed.
One of these days, we will return to lives, no longer sheltering-in-place nor wearing protective gear and masks to leave our houses. One of these days we will again put on make-up, style our hair, dress up, and go out for a night at the theater, soaking in all the glorious laughter and chatter of being in a room full of people, no longer fearful of what might be transmitted. One day again, we will celebrate a special occasion at an upscale restaurant, surrounded a bit too closely by other diners – but we won’t mind. One of these days we will host dinner parties and wrap our arms around and hold tight each and every person who enters our house.
One of these days, we will look back with a mixture of sorrow and relief and anger and fear at this entire horrific, upending, devastating period.
Alas, that day is not yet.
It won’t be as far from now as we fear, nor will it be as soon as we would prefer.
But it is coming; as surely as the sun will rise and the winds will blow and the stars will shine; it is approaching. Paraphrasing T.S. Elliot, that instant will land not with a bang, but with a whimper; subtlety, slowly, surreptitiously making known its presence. In the same manner one cannot actually watch a flower open but can recognize its beauty when it blooms, that time is blossoming even now.
And when it does, what will you do to commemorate its arrival?
I will re-experience joy in the small things. No more will I socially distance myself nor self-isolate, instead smiling broadly when someone – anyone – passes me on the sidewalk. No longer having to swab everything with sani-wipes, I will plop down my butt on any park bench I damn well want or hang from its jungle gym, free of trepidation of what I might catch. I will relish the background noise and chatter of a crowded mall. I’ll stand nearer than six feet when in line at the grocery store and won’t be afraid to handle cash when I pay.
I will see in the eyes of each person I meet or casually pass along the walkway the scars and pain of our shared experience. I will know that we are bonded, even if we don’t know each other’s names. We share history and trauma. We are survivors and well aware of that commonality; a band of brothers who never served together yet emerged from battle, we are as one. That thought will remain forefront.
I will hug again and again and again and again until my arms hurt and my face is sore from crying tears of happiness and reunion. Family members and friends whom I have only heard or seen through technology I will embrace with recognition of how relieved I am to be together again. I might linger a bit too long, but I will rejoice in the feeling of those I love pressed closely to me, almost unwilling to release them. I will smother them with kisses and hold their heads against my own and tell them how much I missed them and how deeply is my love for them. And then, I’ll do it all over again.
Most of all, I will be grateful.
I will cry tears of joy without embarrassment. I will appreciate little flashes of banality more than I ever knew I could. I shall withhold complaint about boring work assignments or tedious outdoor tasks around my house. I will welcome their mundanity.
I will give thanks to the untold millions of individuals who kept vigil for us during our darkest times: those who held open our supply chains and those who treated us during sickness at great risk to themselves. Some I will mourn but will never forget.
Every day that I breathe, I will stand tall outside in the refreshed virus-free atmosphere, arms outstretched, face to the sun, smiling like a fool, and with every healthy cell in my being, thank the Universe, God, Eternal Spirit for allowing me a day on this planet where I can give praise for my life force and its resilience and for the breath that fills my lungs and the blood that pumps through my heart. I am alive and there is no greater gift than that. I will never, ever take that for granite.
That day might be over distant horizons, but I will commence my practice starting right now.