Written on 05/03/2020
Jeane George Weigel

Here we all are, still in this unreal pandemic situation.

I am so much luckier than most, living up here on this mountain in New Mexico. And I’ve wished there was something I could do for those of you who aren’t as fortunate.

So, once again, I’ve turned to Anne Lamott. She says, “In the aftermath of loss, we do what we’ve always done, although we are changed, maybe more afraid. We do what we can, as well as we can.”

And she adds, “One rarely knows where to begin the search for meaning, though by necessity, we can only start where we are… It somehow has to do with sticking together as we try to make sense of chaos, and that seems a way to begin.” So let’s begin.

It seems to me that we are sticking together throughout the world and the country despite the lack of federal leadership. We’re wearing and making masks, washing our hands, staying home, raising money, helping our neighbors.

Ann asks, “Where is meaning in the meteoric passage of time, the speed in which our lives are spent? Where is meaning in the pits? In the suffering? I think these questions are worth asking.” I do too.

And I think with so many of us at home, this question is being asked and pursued more now, in part, because our pace has been impeded.

“Most of us have figured out that we have to do what’s in front of us and keep doing it… Every time we choose the good action or response, the decent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice…” Ann says.

“We live stitch by stitch, when we’re lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching.” Ann again.

Photo by Kevin Hulett

And so, having thought about meaning and life for days and days, I did the thing that was in front of me. I went rock hunting.

Up onto the mountain, down along rutted dirt roads, I headed to the hills.

And the reason I’m writing to you today is to suggest that you do just such a thing–not necessarily rocking–that’s my thing. And not necessarily outside of your homes. Many of you can’t go outside. But you might find joy in listening to great music, reading poetry, reading anything, playing with the baby, dancing.

During these difficult times that have slowed us down, and taken us out of our normal routines, it may be more possible to look into ourselves and make a few personal discoveries. What makes your heart beat a little faster? What makes you feel at peace? What fills you with delight? Whatever it is, do that thing (with safe social distancing, of course).

A reader, Tammie Gardner Williams, sent an article to me from the “Atlantic.” Written by Jessamyn West, she suggests that good fiction writing, “… reveals truth that reality obscures.” I’ve been thinking about that idea since Tammie sent the article.

I’d pretty much come up with the idea of our true selves, and how we hide behind the images we project about ourselves. For me it’s that I’m a tough chick who doesn’t really need anybody’s help (but of course that’s not the case). Take that concept into business, schools, foundations, into all aspects of our society, and the obscured truth expands.

Then it occurred to me that we’re all living in a situation right now where we could consciously endeavor to unobscure reality. Capitalism is on hold. We, the workers, are at home. We’re resting, seeing our kids and pets, we’re reading, we’ve decelerated. There’s never been a more perfect time to search our souls. To clear away the fog. To witness clean reality.

So let’s take this occasion and make the effort to deeply seek out our core during our present unprecedented time of stopping. Let’s breathe. Let’s pay attention to the certainty that is revealed now that we’re quiet.

And let’s make changes. As we see ourselves more accurately, let’s take the best of us and do some good.

Let’s rise up and fight for our right to vote by mail. Then let’s VOTE in our primaries and in November. This crisis did not have to be so bad. More Americans should have lived.

We are the richest country in the world, commanding one of its finest healthcare systems, yet we are number one in total Coronavirus cases and number one in deaths. More than any other nation. This with only a fraction of our population tested.

Trump once said while campaigning that if he was elected, Americans would get tired of winning because, “… we would have so much winning…” under Trump.

Yes, Mr. Trump, I can finally agree with you about something. If this is what being number one means under your presidency, we are most certainly tired of winning.

Love to you all,