Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. ~Marie Curie
Can we track down the exact moment in history, or her writings that prove this was said? And if so, is the meaning we make from it today the same as what she meant to say so long ago? Was the translation of her original words accurate? I can’t answer any of this, but the way these words were put together and attributed to her struck a nerve.
Science and fear have always had a tenuous relationship, exacerbated when stoicism comes into the room and takes the rest of the air, smothering any space to work it out. And believe me, we have been conditioned to know stoicism is right and better and that taking that air is our right.
I shared about my friend yesterday. I want people to understand this virus can affect anyone’s life at any time. We won’t be able to predict how, when, or *if it will. We don’t know who has underlying conditions, because they are not always visible.
We are finding out who is vulnerable in the midst of a nationwide crisis. The strongest amongst us are being discovered as vulnerable. It seems so simple that we missed it. The vulnerability *is part of the being strong. Strength without vulnerability is just another kind of fear.
I see us, trying to prove that we are strong.
I went to the store again yesterday, thinking about my friend and her partner and all the conversations we’ve had over the years and all I’ve learned from our time together. They are great listeners and teachers, and we discover interesting new understandings together. And questions. SO many questions.
I am so curious. About you, and myself. And all of us.
Yesterday I didn’t feel fear. I felt concern. I felt sad. I felt like my tires had gone flat. All the condolences people shared to me yesterday, I am grateful for, but I know they are energies best spent for her journey ahead and recovery. I know you all love me. Thank you.
To understand this virus can very simply land wherever it will and affect each human organism differently means we do need to take it seriously. We need to listen to the medical experts.
I don’t want to stoke fears. I want us to step past fear and into decisive caution.
We have human brains, and they are capable of this. We can do this; and yet, it’s still an inaccessible step for so many of us. In the end, we are still and unsophisticatedly prone to our stress responses. It’s going to take a whole lot of grace. And leadership. And we have to look very intentionally to find both right now.
Our individual and interpersonal actions right now are manifestations of our stress responses. I am not making new social stories about anyone right now. That would be cruel. We will be our best and our worst through this, all together.
At the store, people are still not working together. Some are trying. The stores have become a somber place, and they’re a readily available diagnostic snapshot of our social diseases.
I hear in some places, people are respecting the guidelines and that’s encouraging.
I was taught to understand that everyone is doing their best, at any given moment and I still believe that. I believe in the world of possibilities. And I perceive some of us are so very stuck.
In a world where some of us are stuck, how can you find wiggle room today? How can you reach out to take back some of that air that was sucked out of the room? It’s Easter today, for those who celebrate it. It’s spring. It’s a season of meaningful days for so many folks.
If you’re not feeling the call for renewal and can’t revel in the energy those tiny blossoms are putting forth, then maybe you reshape it into something that feels right for you today. Maybe it’s sitting with the flat tires. Maybe it’s dressing up in your favorite bikini and gold high heels to vacuum up all the dog hair. No? Never mind.
Folks, I’m striving to understand. And when I can’t, I’m resting. And when the feelings bubble up, I’m tending to them the best I can. We really are not alone, no matter how it may feel. Where can you reclaim some grace and some air, for yourself and others, in the days to come?