“Getting Real on Day Twenty"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - APRIL 4, 2020
DAY TWENTY OF THE CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
Good morning. I have to say typing "Day Twenty" rather surprised me just then. And, I'm not entirely certain it's because I feel like time is racing through the Looking Glass or if it's because time is standing still. I am probably not the only one who feels a bit suspended in mid-air, holding on to that last breath, the one you took before your life turned on end. If I had to guess, we are all there, floating on the current of this incredulous moment.
Are we all asking ourselves if this is even real? The question alone forces you back a little. My sister-in-law likened the epidemic in its early days to a storm brewing off-shore, gaining speed and strength. My college roommate is a nurse in Detroit, recovering from an intense confrontation with the virus. She compared the process of falling ill to the process an enormous dragon takes as it sure-footedly pounds across your yard, explodes through your door and proceeds to eat you alive in your living room before it turns on its heel, and heads to your neighbor's house. I keep conjuring images of Dorothy fading in and out of consciousness, caught in the violent, swirling wind then waking in an absurd land. And not unlike the movie-version, today's Oz is filled with as many imminent dangers as it is intimate mercies.
Etty Hillesum was an aspiring young writer on the eve of World War II. Her unthinkable journey led her from the Netherlands to Auschwitz. Yet somewhere in the middle she wrote, "Everywhere things are both very good and very bad at the same time. The two are in balance, everywhere and always....I know not what may lie in wait for us...and yet I find life beautiful and meaningful." Is this even real? Can someone in the face of such grave circumstances believe such things? Yes, my friends, this type of deep, abiding hope was real for Hillesum, and it must be real for us. Go ahead and exhale. There's no place like home to ride this out. You have the brains. You have the heart. You have the nerve.