“Be calm. God awaits you at the door,” whispers Gabriel Garcia Marquez, famed Latin American author in Love in a Time of Cholera.
How does one be calm in a time of pandemic? How might we bring along our resources into this moment, where we are so poignantly aware of our losses and vulnerability?
We each have things in our past that might help us come confidently to this moment. though we each have people looking to us for help, we cannot offer that which we have not found for ourselves. So we start inward. Always, the mirror.
In Hebrew wisdom literature, the psalmist sings, “I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child.” Not because we have been here before, no, certainly not. But because we have received what we needed before. We know who we are, and that, among few other things, has not changed. We know something about ourselves from our past. We are not what we do. We are still loved. We have been stronger than we thought we could be before. We are compassionate. We are forgiven. We are imperfect. We are becoming.
We can be who we are meant to be and do what we are meant to do, in this moment. We have been given what we needed to get to this day. “Like a weaned child, I have calmed and quieted my soul.”
It also helps to remember who we are around–the caliber of people, the generosity of spirit. We see faith communities who are holding us up in prayer. We know that our co-worker took an extra shift when we had that accident. We remember that our neighbor shares their extra sugar…or toilet paper. Everyday citizens are pitching in, innovating, improving, to make new systems, new protections, and new generosity a norm. Our abuela or lola is saying her prayers. We sense this crisis has connected us irreversibly to each other. And the Other. We are working together as never before.
We are led by Marquez’s words “Be calm, God awaits you at the door.”
If this is a door, we enter with our true self—the parts of us that do not change. If this is a journey, we do not travel alone. Remember who you are. Remember who you’re around.
Coming, or going, knocking or answering, God is with us.