Humans, as a whole, have a difficult time seeing clearly beyond their own noses. I’m guilty of it, too. Some have a gift of empathy where they not only see clearly what is happening to others beyond their own experience, they feel it, too. These poor creatures are definitely the exceptions.
Look at what’s going on now. Here in southeastern North Carolina, we’re dealing with the restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on our entire nation, we’re watching the news and seeing the numbers tick steadily up—but the people around us don’t appear to be sick. Maybe some of them are, but their cases must be extremely mild. We know that there are more cases out there and we could be next. We know it, but we don’t, for the most part, actually feel it.
And so we go on about our lives. We’ve taken up new hobbies, returned to old ones. The kids go to “online” school every day. Some of us are chafing a little at the restrictions. My kids can’t see their friends. My oldest is missing the second half of his sophomore year at college. But over it all, right now (and it may be short-lived), I have a feeling of profound peace. I’m not rushing anymore. I’m not feeling guilty for devoting so much time to the theater work I love instead of making dinner for my family. I have time to fold laundry and wash dishes. I’m enjoying this unanticipated vacation.
And I know it shows a lack of empathy that I can feel peaceful right now. Maybe this is the end of everything, maybe it’s the ruination of our country, maybe it’s the apocalypse. Anyway…
Peace and Rubble (is this how we go?)
By Michelle Garren Flye
If this is the way we go, I think it’s the way I choose:
Family all around, safe in our home, with love as real
As the things I care about—the only things I have to lose;
Maybe that’s wrong to say but it’s the way I feel.
It’s an odd war we’re fighting, of that there is no doubt.
The enemy is hidden, you can’t even see the rubble.
There’s nothing to show on the nightly news, no bout
Of bombing or flattened buildings—maybe that’s the trouble.
Instead of fighting, we’re asked to sit still and quiet
Don’t go out, stay home with your loved ones, they say.
There’s a special joy in that if you’ll only find it,
A life you’ve not given yourself time to live—until today.