It’s Tuesday today! Happy Tuesday everyone!
21 April 2020. Day 25 (or 26?) of Lockdown I think, not sure, but 5am. That I know.
Fat lot of good that did, sweeping the ‘ol driveway then yesterday huh? The wind started gusting away yesterday morning, blowing the poor bougainvillea around which is desperately clinging to the balcony of the deck and then the rain pelted down! The most beautiful drenching rain, just about the whole day. My best kind of weather. Can never be enough rain on earth. (Ah, I Bless the Rains Down In Africa. Toto- Africa? The song? You know it? Just listening to the drums start makes my heart ache…)
Thank heavens I brought the last bit of washing in from the line. Now I have 3 creased baskets of clean clothes in my lounge. Think the ironing’s off the agenda completely in this extended lockdown – can’t see how I’m ever going to catch up again. Frankly, don’t think I’m ever going to take the kids to school anymore either. A whole new routine established here now and sitting in my car for at least an hour in that beastly traffic listening to a million bloody ads on the radio and the awful headlines of who’s been raped or killed is the very last thing I would ever want to do. I hate it! No one wants to talk (well, certainly not me) , they don’t enjoy my choice of radio station (FMR with a bit of classical – ‘aaah, it’s so depressing, mom, turn it off) and I have to sit at robots! Flip do I hate robots. Suppose kids have gotta get back to school though at some stage I should imagine, despite them really enjoying the whole routine at home. I’m amazed at their discipline and work out routines. Kitchen duties not so much but getting better.
So, remember yesterday I said I had had a lot of thoughts while sweeping the driveway on Sunday? Well, ironically when I received my regular Monday morning email from my special friend, who religiously sends me Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, (it’s kind of become our particular precious connection) I swear I thought Maria had been watching me sweep and listening to my thoughts! All the way from America wherever she is. (She was married to Arnold Schwarzenegger ,– as in Shwashenegger as my darling husband would say, his German’s not that accurate, but you know who I’m talking about ? The previous Gov of California and prior to that, the extraordinary huge body builder if you don’t know who I’m talking about- funny how we sometimes associate women with the men they were married to and people according to their bodies?) That rhythmic sweeping of the broom lulled me into a gentle sense of what I considered to be the only essentials anyone ever needs: a decent roof over my head (preferably not a flat one, they tend to cause problems in winter), a few clothes and some food. And really that’s about it. I’ve never been big on clothes at all. Don’t understand the fuss and I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than trawl through shopping malls. Food’s good, yes but I’m also not that fussy to be honest. I don’t spend a lot of time planning meals. It seems all slightly futile when the preparation takes hours but the consumption mere minutes.
But of, course the only other thing which we need, as humans is love. Deep love. Parent to child, partner to partner, people to earth.
Now, one can consider this in a vacuous, flippant way or you can honestly believe that love would possibly be the super- efficient vaccine against worldwide mess. Which is kind of us, at the moment. A complete and utter mess.
Here’s an excerpt of Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. This is what she wrote:
“When this is all over, what will I remember?” I pondered to myself. “What thoughts and images will be seared into my brain? Who will I be when I am no longer told to stay at home?”
When I leave my home and go back out into the world in the future, will I always see myself as a non-essential worker? As a vulnerable member of society? Will I see myself as someone who needs to be protected from others so I don’t get sick? Who and what really will be essential in a post-pandemic world?
The truth is, I don’t know the answers to many of these questions. But I do know that how I see myself matters. How you see yourself matters, too. What I do know is that all of us are essential. In this post-pandemic world, what will really matter most—what will really be essential—is who we are on the inside.
Not all of us can be health care workers and save lives on the frontlines of the fight (to those of you who are, thank you again for what you’re doing), but each of us can save lives in different ways. When we return to our “new normal,” we have the power to decide what that “new normal” can be. We can make it one where we each of us heals with our words and our presence. We can go out into the world with a firm intention to be carriers of love instead of division and hate. We can be carriers of kindness, compassion, and empathy. If we’re able, we can focus on helping those who are struggling to put food on the table, pay their rent, or clothe their children.
In one way or another, all of us can focus on some form of giving back, instead of just on making money and acquiring things ourselves. Moving forward, we can focus on sharing instead of accumulating. We can focus on less instead of on more, more, more.
So much of our tomorrow remains unknown. Wondering about it too much right now might not feel like an essential thing to do, but I think it’s important for us to begin to think about who we are and who we want to be.
As we ponder it, may we take comfort in this: while the future may feel uncertain, what will always be certain and essential is our love. The love I have for myself. The love I have for my family and friends. The love I have for you, even though I may not know you personally. It is essential. Yes, it is. Love is the one essential ingredient that our world cannot move forward without. Not now. Not anymore.
So today, if you happen to leave your home, walk out with love in your heart. Walk out ready to share your love with others. See it as an essential gift that you can bestow on a neighbor, a stranger, or that so-called vulnerable, older woman walking deep in thought. After all, your love just might move her heart and calm her mind.
That, my friends, is what is essential in our world today. Love. It will be essential in a post-pandemic world as well.”
It reminded me of my own words I’d written in my last book, Somewhere In Between.
Here. I’ve looked it up and want to share it with you here now. It’s on page 220. The second last page.
“I don’t understand human behaviour all the time, least of which sometimes my own. But I am dissatisfied with, and believe that the scourge of society is one in which social standing and pretentious behaviour seem to elicit respect. It never fails to confuse me why fortuitous wealth and political manipulation command more respect than ‘middle-class mediocrity’. In societies where the majority of people live way below the breadline and those who perform the truly essential functions in society like teachers and nurses and mothers (my emphasis now in bold) are demeaned, society reveres the ones with the big cars and Prada shoes. Why? Why is it that people are habituated to fascination with wealth rather than charity? Why is it that the majority of today’s role models are people who are materially successful and flaunt it? Who are the role models in society and who do the youth look for mentors?
Let’s lean in and start a new conversation …”
But it’s time to go. Time to get on with ‘real’ writing.
Happy day to you all.
And love to you all over the world, wherever you are. Deep love.