I’m not at all attempting to stick my head in the sand and ignore the horrifying headlines. The minute by minute updates that are basically a broken record of the worst songs- the future is bleak and scary… millions of people are going to die from this… we will never be able to experience any sort of normalcy again, at least not for a few more years.
The despair and grief are unmistakable through the airwaves. We are all learning to sit maturely with those emotions and enter into the reality of the situation at hand without losing our ever-living mind.
And yet we must not ignore the gaping hole within and around us.
We are inundated with messages of terror and hopelessness, this has always been the case. But our humanity feels like it’s being stripped away at an alarming rate right now. Still, we keep reaching for the sickening drama, clicking on the articles that pound us to the ground, leaving us breathless and heavy, or worse, weeping uncontrollably on the kitchen floor.
The other morning, I woke up for the first time in my life literally starving for beauty.
The day switched gears immediately from that point on. Noticing my hunger, and taking it seriously, I listened closely to what I needed. It felt like a life or death situation at that point. I’m not even kidding.
How do I keep my soul from shriveling up and my body from giving up, I wondered.
I promptly declared the day an emergency. Operation: Devour beauty, joy, love, peace, all things delicious and wholesome.
Of course, our raging hunger for the lovely and edifying has always been present. But we’ve just become so damn good at ignoring the voice that directs us to seek it out, to pursue it with fervency. It’s drowned out every day under the loud buzz of activities, constant busyness, and low-grade worry.
How unfortunate it is to not realize our depravity, how utterly impoverished we are when it comes to saturating ourselves in what is animating, enlivening, and uplifting, until it’s too late.
We tend to notice only after significant damage has been done to our psyche and our soul.
This week I listened to my wise husband’s wise orders- don’t look at the news for a week sweetie, he urged me in a stern and tender voice.
I knew it was exactly what my soul had been pleading with me to do.
I chose to read rich books. I chose to etch out my emotions with pen and paper. I chose to sit with my kids and read their silly stories. I chose to grab our globe and thank God for this green earth we call home. I chose to be outside in the afternoons, rain or shine. I chose to drink hot ginger chai and flip through a magazine. I chose to watch sunsets. I chose to go for a walk and listen to the soothing frog songs. I chose to send Spring notes to friends. I chose to laugh. I chose to be grateful for the underappreciated things like food and a shower and a warm bed. I gave myself permission to play around with my dreams when everything within me says throw them away, especially at a time like this.
I finished off the week by sprinkling wildflower seeds over every square inch of bare soil in my yard.
I didn’t enter the chaotic storm of google news. I didn’t look up the current numbers of new cases or deaths in my county. I didn’t dwell on possible worst-case scenarios. I ignored the panic in me pushing me to hoard groceries and get through the doors early. I didn’t let fear tuck me at night.
I focused on living simply and simply living.
And I felt so human and alive.
Friend, hear me, we mustn’t forget how to walk into our day with vibrancy. How to engage with our colorful imaginations and create new worlds. How to love from the center of our whole being without a hint of that ugly scarcity mindset.
We cannot allow the devastation around us to dehumanize us, or anyone else because that’s exactly what it wants to do.
Contrary to what the pandemic tells us, we are not walking germs filled with virus and infection. We are beautiful creations who want to pursue careers, climb mountains with our kids, make homemade pizza, gather with friends around a fire pit, and marvel at the miracles around us.
Life already has enough unexplained pain and bewildering death, so please don’t be ashamed of your appetite for too-good-to-be-true news, feast on it without shame, and let there be a tinge of desperation as you partake of it.