These days I wake early-ish…before the rest of the house is up. I need those two hours to drink coffee in silence and to sit.
I yearn to be alone.
I read from Richard Wagamese’s One Story, One Song…it soothes me, roots me into the present.
Sometimes I pretend that this is a regular morning, that soon I will put my book down and wake my daughters and they will get ready to catch the bus for school. In my pretending I forget for a moment that this is not a normal day, that my husband is still upstairs.
Today when he comes down my greeting is not warm…I silently wish he would go away.
The day before today I was awash with gratitude for my family, feeling so lucky to have those I love safe under one roof. I stood at the foot of my daughters’ beds and touched their feet and wept. I made pancakes and woke everyone with a smile and a song. I hugged my husband hard and told him how much I love him.
I still do.
But today…I wish he would go away. Go outside. Take a drive in the truck…a long one.
This is day 23 of sheltering in place…I think.
This is normal, I tell myself.
During a pandemic it must be normal to ride these waves of emotion and extremes of love and loathing and anger.
It’s normal to want to hide in my bed and eat nothing but toast with butter.
It’s normal to long to sit on my meditation cushion and burn sage and be still and breathe and then struggle to my feet because I am about to be engulfed by a tsunami, like I am already under water all the time, moving slowly.
Sometimes I think it is enough just to lie on the floor and breathe. I think of those in ICUs all over the world, on ventilators, and with purpose I breathe in and out…I feel the constant presence and comfort of my own breath. I breathe with gratitude, with love.
And this is all I know: that I don’t know much anymore except that these long days seem to be offering us an invitation – an invitation to stop turning away from the hard inner work that is required if we want to change ourselves and our world.
To learn how to sit still, and feel into the murkiness of this time with curiosity and love. To find in ourselves a willingness to undergo our journey with compassion and in total trust.
To breathe slowly.
And if the virus offers us anything, it’s the opportunity to practice compassion. For ourselves, and for all the beautiful, imperfect people on this planet struggling in solitude along with us.
In all of this, we are never truly alone…as my dear husband would remind me.
But for now, it is enough to be breathing on this shore, on the edge of the tidal wave, I turn to the mystery with curiosity and love and trust.
What else can I do?