Deprivation. A gift. It is what sparks the fire of our inborn resources, uncovers the internal wealth of creativity and curiosity that each of us has within. Perhaps, as families, as towns, and even as an entire country, we have cause to know that much more sharply these days than we ever have before.
But I wonder . . . will what we have discovered during this time simply disappear the moment our hardships are over? What is it that makes humans overlook the things nearest to them? The books on our own shelves (when libraries are closed), the family member in the same room (when coworkers and friends are at a distance), the neighbor across the lawn (when Facebook friends are busy), the streets of our own town (when driving isn’t an option)?
Maybe there is a hidden pandemic, something that has been spreading through our lives, a silent poison, one person to another, for much longer than any of us have realized. And now, we have been given the chance to heal ourselves from it. We have lacked a smallness which would allow us to forget the wider world and instead gaze within ourselves or within the people closest to us. We’ve lacked the blurred focus which would give us permission to cherish our hearts and minds and give our overworked bodies a break, find the deep joy of simply living once again.
Maybe this is the chance we have needed, perhaps even unknowingly longed for—to develop the talent for a slow, observant, in the moment existence. The type of existence every human craves, yet deprives herself of on a daily basis.
Slow down. Let the here and now sink into your soul. Look into someone’s eyes. Listen to the song of a bird. Let your heart unravel, half-dreaming, in the sunshine. Share a story or a secret. Laugh and argue and struggle and emerge and be . . . This is what we were made for, after all, when all else falls away.
And when what has fallen away returns, as it inevitably will . . . do not forget what your heart taught you in the quiet.