• vslachman

There Will Be Light

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Here's something I'm grateful for in this time of enormous fear and uncertainty--my daughter is sharing her online yoga classes now that her yoga studio has closed due to the Corona Virus. I am happy to see her face and hear her voice those mornings I'm able to join in.

The other day, she shared a lovely statement to set the larger intention for her class, and it seems fitting for this moment.

"When there are exhales of anxiety all around me, I will breathe in a hope that will remind me of peace above all else. And though it is dim, this is not the end, just a messy and uncertain middle. And we will see the other side. And there will be light."

To hear her speak these words, being so far away, brought tears to my eyes. And I'm sure I'm not alone in being moved by the courage and wisdom shown by family members, friends, and so many going to work still, every day, to help us navigate these months of trial.

Dorian on April 6th--quarantine for the rest of us, grazing for him!

I had to take some feed and a stall fan out to the barn the other day, so I got a peek at Dorian grazing in his pasture with his buddy Simon.

Dorian and Simon hanging in the pasture.

When I walked up to Dorian, calling his name, you can see the response--Simon turned around. Dorian kept eating!

Such good friends.

I know we're all going through days and days of hearing the mounting death toll, the PPE and ventilator shortages, the economic toll, the political turmoil over it all, fear for our loved ones. But there is also this--gratitude being shown to the medical community--a whole fire department standing outside applauding medical staff as they leave the hospital--and thanks given to those who so rarely are even acknowledged: grocery store clerks, and truck drivers and EMTs, and those who deliver the mail, and patrol the streets and drive the buses and ambulances, and so many more out there putting themselves in danger to keep us all going. I saw a video of docs and nurses on a Covid 19 ward doing a dance together--one they all do every time they take someone off a ventilator.

Or famous chef Jose Andres feeding the homeless and elderly at no charge in 25 cities throughout the country. Or the person in my own neighborhood making and delivering face masks, just because she can.

It got me thinking about joy. It's something, to be honest, I can't say I have a great understanding about--my life has seemed little more than a series of difficult, sometimes existential, challenges for many years. And now we're all in that boat together.

So I've been trying to understand more about joy. Because I need to, and I have the opportunity to, and I feel it's so needed in our world today. And I've discovered it's actually in me--sort of hard-wired into me. I know this because when I see little Sonia (the robin who has four, small aqua blue eggs in her nest in my holly tree--and yes, I named her and talk to her), it makes me happy. She rides the windy days with grace, she's there through the nights of 30 degree weather. She's patient and also crabby! When I go out my front door, she flies to a near branch and scolds me nonstop!

Little Sonia, singing.

And walking through the deeply green, deeply lush alfalfa and orchard grass as I made my way to Dorian's pasture the other day--I felt such settled peace and maybe a bit of joy because the earth is doing its thing, bringing forth new life that will feed my horse through the harsh, cold winter next year . . . .

It's a discipline to notice these things and to recognize joy. "Recognize" it--yes, it's not a manufactured feeling, I'm discovering. It's innate to us, in us, as us. I think the world would be uplifted if we let ourselves feel it and show it just a little more.

Especially now, when so many of us are feeling so very alone and scared.

The bars seem a fitting emblem for what we're feeling right now.

But as I watch Dorian and Simon gaze at each other through bars that seem just as strong as the bars of disease that now separate us from each other and threaten that most permanent of divides, I'm also reminded of Lauren's quote.

Those bars between Simon and Dorian are not permanent. In a moment German will come and turnt them out to pasture where they'll graze and run, and nuzzle each other. Their bars don't permanently divide them any more than this virus divides us.

And so I'm focusing on that and on learning more about my own joy--sometimes the effort to do that takes me merely from one moment to the next.

So, as my wonderful daughter reminded me, this is truly not the end, and we all do know that in the deepest part of ourselves. This is a moment, the middle--and yes, right now it feels like a very long moment. But in the midst of it, we can know--and focus on--the fact that we are also on our way to the other side.

And there will be peace.

And companionship

And there will also be light.

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