While incubating in my house, I’ve been thinking about what life will be like when my chrysalis is shed and I will be set free to go out the door again, fluttering from one activity to the next in my expanded world—when I won’t have to wear a mask or two, social distance, and wash my hands so much they are cracked.
The other thing I have been thinking about is love in all its glorious forms: love of people, love of nature and places, love of communal learning … The list is endless. Will I be hesitant to go to the library, eat inside a restaurant, sing at a church service?
Where freedom of movement and love intersect is a deep question. When I look at my calendar now, it is dotted with medical appointments, a few Zoom meetings, and little else. When my weekly online report arrives every Sunday, I am astounded by the amount of time I have spent on my devices. Yet this is how we connect these days; a one-dimensional world has to suffice.
So I wonder what it will be like and how I will respond when I step back into the three-dimensional world inhabited by humans. Will I look at the sweaty runner passing me on the trail and recoil at the trail of exhaled air, not to mention the sweat dampening a forehead and armpits? What about parties? I keep saying I am going to throw the biggest party ever after this is over. But will I have the courage to do it? Another thing John and I vow to do is take the trips that have been postponed—some three times. But do I want to step into an airplane stuffed with microbe-covered organisms?
I also wonder which friendships will have survived. Sure, we have kept in touch through emails, texts, and a rare phone call, but these are becoming less frequent. The rancorous political scene has caused a cooling with some I had counted as forever friends. Will we go back to respecting our differences and cherishing our friendships?
But then I remember those who are rock-solid sister and brother friends, and our ever-faithful family and partners. Those closest to our hearts will accompany us on life’s journey.
The other day John said to me, “Tomorrow is our anniversary.” In the ennui and sameness of our everyday lives, I had forgotten this important day, but he had not. And so I’m going to close with a truism: love remembers. Love will give us courage to step back into our marvelous world, so beautiful with the faces of those we cherish, and to reclaim the places and activities that expand our horizons and feed our souls.
When the pestilence has gone from our midst, when the cocoon is shed and the door opens wide, let us all spread our wings and fly—together.