Only fools can love.
Fortunately, we are all fools.
In this time of loss and fear, we’re less able than usual to pretend that living creatures are anything other than a risky investment. We’re made of earth and skin; we falter and crumble and die; sometimes we even have the audacity to change, and grow, and confuse each other.
It is a dangerous thing to invest your heart in a kaleidoscope that keeps turning.
And now, here we are, standing stock still in the midst of another shaky investment: Pandemic Life. Here we’ve all invested weeks of our lives getting used to a baffling new routine, only to hear the great and terrible news that the tsunami may be rolling back into the ocean soon. We didn’t ask for Pandemic Life; we never chose quarantine caution or rigid rules of safety; we still and seriously miss our hugs and our board game nights and our cauliflower rice (whoever keeps buying all the cauliflower rice, would you please think of the children?).
But somewhere along the way, we got used to it.
It makes sense, really. We’ve sunk months into making the most of this mysterious time, finding new ways to rejoice — we bake! we Skype! we talk to our actual families! we crochet three-piece suits for our cats! It has taken our strength and our courage and our ability to hold tight to each other’s hands, if only virtually.
So is it any wonder that we feel a certain sense of loss when the gift we never asked for is about to be, eventually, slowly and carefully, taken away?
Is it any surprise that our battle-weary hearts are exhausted at the prospect of having to re-re-adjust all over again?
That’s how I’m making sense of the lurking anxiety that keeps throwing paper airplanes at my hope when I hear about things getting better. (I’m also achingly concerned about shouting “better!” before things are really and truly better, but that’s another story.) Like all of us, I have learned to love the skies — er, ceilings — I’m under during this foggy season of strangeness, and even peeks of sun can be a little scary.
But the kaleidoscope twirls on.
And if we’re fortunate and foolish enough to have learned to love this time despite its traumas, just as we’ve loved cats and people despite their promise to change, we’re guaranteed to be OK.
Every loss — even the complicated ones, like saying goodbye to Pandemic Life — deserves its mourning. We’re going to have to honor the courage and the camaraderie and the sacred quiet that got us through the unimaginable.
But just like “goodbye” is never final among friends, this loss will be anything but complete.
The grace we’ve found in these dizzying days is here to stay. The same strength-from-beyond that’s carrying us through All This will surge through our hearts and minds and hands and feet when we return to the Life Before. The good from now and the good from then will kiss; when we see the brilliant colors of what’s ahead, we won’t look back, not for long, not forever.
And we will love, and touch, and live to be fools again.
I don’t know, and you don’t know, and none of the senators and scientists know, what, exactly is coming next, much less when. Be not afraid, kittens. Keep investing in this day, this moment, this sacred snapshot of your life. And never lose the infinite wisdom, so “foolish” in this world, that loves in spite of change.
Love is the still point in our turning world.