Paradox of Pandemic – Weariness and Wonder
“We Are Not Stuck at Home. We Are Blessed to Have a Home” comes from a sign sent to me by my friend Lynn.
There are so many paradoxes these days of coping with sheltering-in-place. A neighbor walking her dog stopped to take a photo on her cell phone of the bougainvillea blooming to bursting in my front yard. So grateful for the flowering of spring right now, and yet I don’t know if she has time for a mid-day walk because the restaurant where she works is closed and she is now unemployed.
We are holding a lot of paradoxes in our lives these days – “situations having seemingly contradictory phases” is one dictionary definition.
The visceral experience of paradox is of being pulled in different directions – by instructions to stay at home but maybe you can go to the beach, by knowing many people are still dying every day, yet being encouraged by the many, many stories of people still showing up to help those struggling to live. [See Showing Up for the People Who Are Showing Up]
By being grateful for all of the “love in action” (from the Belfast, Ireland COVID-19 team: “When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms, don’t say to yourself, ‘It looks like the end of the world.’ What you’re seeing is love in action.” See their entire message here.)
And hearing my loving, kind, showing up friends say, too, “I am so DONE with this!”
We may all be getting a bit weary in these constricted times with no sure end in sight. And from the beginning of time, one sure-fire antidote to weariness is wonder.
Wonder re-opens our minds and hearts to the great realization that anything exists at all, that anything works as well as it does. We may not always choose or prefer what’s happening, but that anything is happening is something to be amazed at.
As the range of daily activities continues to smallify, we can re-open our minds and hearts to wonder by noticing the myriad daily miracles crossing our paths, too. Even the tiny ant walking across my paper as I write this – how much complexity in such a teeny-tiny body! The paper cut on my little finger that healed without leaving a mark. (Yes, I washed and bandaged the wound, but life did the healing.) The miracle of cool water quenching our thirst and a warm cup of tea soothing our soul. That my 75-year old neighbor’s glasses fogged up while wearing his mask, he tripped and fell, but didn’t break or bruise anything. A miracle!
That we get to witness and partake, moment by moment, in the experience of life, no matter how challenging or paradoxical, continuing on, moment by moment, is itself a cause for wonder.
Practice noticing and being re-energized by continuous backdrop of life’s miracles in your day today. The sun came up this morning, the breakfast oatmeal tasted delicious, the toilet still flushes (We’re only a generation or two away from not taking indoor plumbing for granted, and in many parts of the world still, no indoor plumbing at all.)
Your neighbor’s music could have sounded irritating but actually gave a lift to your spirits. You found a stash of chocolate you had hidden away for a rainy day. You glimpsed your 3-year old neighbor riding his bike for the very first time!
Cultivating a sense of the miraculous turns even the most mundane and wearying moments into moments of wonder – and resilience.