On March 11th, 2020, I scrawled these words on my wall calendar, “THE DAY THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT STOPPED.”
I didn’t, exactly, know what I was doing when I wrote this phrase, but it emerged from the depths of my being, the depths of my soul. I intuitively felt as though a major shift had occurred and that nothing would ever be the same again, that we would never return to “normal.” I felt anguish.
The phrase is made of several components, or parts:
- As We Know It
As I consider these elements, each bears a significance worth noting: time (day); physicality (world); a philosophical or interpretative quality (as we know it); and action (stopped).
Upon closer inspection, it’s not the world that stopped on a particular day; but the world as we know it, as we understand and interpret it. Perhaps this could mean, as we have come to know, understand, experience, and live it.
Although I felt overwhelmingly sad and disturbed the day I wrote down the phrase—March 11th—today I feel very hopeful. I understand that the world, in fact, hasn’t stopped, can’t stop, but that it will necessarily be transformed and changed into something new and better. This is what all the world religions point to.
The elemental forces that surge—that bring new life—cannot be stopped. People will still come together, and perhaps more so now than ever before. In the same way that some children tend to do the opposite of what they’re told—a rebellious streak perhaps—those forces that we call “the rush of life” will continue—and perhaps, ironically, with greater strength.
Great hope comes from the depths of pain
Pain, discomfort, insecurity, and grief (all resulting from the implications of the novel coronavirus pandemic) are catalysts for the opposite. To conceive of our “known world” stopping (ceasing to exist or dying) means to conceive of an “unknown world” being born. Opposites can be thought of as follows:
- From pain comes necessary change and ease
- From initial discomfort comes re-adjustment and new, more streamlined habits that bring reassurance and comfort
- From insecurity comes a rapprochement to the Creator, an overwhelming sense of peace that distinctly comes from outside of ourselves and a truer and more profound security than we’ve ever felt
If you feel that something monumental, yet indescribable, is going on, you’re right. It is.
For something new to be born, however, something old must die. There are countless stories of a baby being born near or at the exact time that an older member of the same family dies. This happened to me. I was born shortly after my paternal grandmother, Luba, passed away. People go so far as to say that the new baby is the Creator’s way of offering solace in the face of loss. This is the current state of affairs in our world. We are experiencing a series of “small deaths” (e.g., restrained freedom from having to wear a mask; inability to be in close proximity with others; forced time with ourselves and introspection (whether we like it or not); and disruptions in how we interact with one another and do business).
The changes that we are undergoing are both novel (new) and “pandemocratic”—common to all people regardless of race, religion, age, or social class as they cut across our globe—thus mirroring the name of the new virus itself.
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