Updated: May 1, 2020
There are times when we feel in control and times when any such illusion falls away. Like a pregnancy, it evolves without our power or planning. We go about our day-to-day business while our bodies quietly go about the task of creating a new life… until the day it explodes from us into a life of its own. Our old world disappears in a final push, and a new world is born with different rules, values and emotions that we never knew existed but now can’t imagine could ever have not existed. In the same way that you can never undo parenthood, we will never be able to undo COVID. Things will perhaps go back to some normalcy, but we will never again be able to resume our pre-COVID innocence. We can go back to pretending we’re in charge. We can plan our schedules and manage our resources, but we will know it’s an illusion. Birth is painful. It’s wild. It’s primitive. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Surrounding ourselves with hospitals, doctors and drugs may lure us into thinking that we can control this thing. And sometimes, like with COVID, we want someone to take charge, take action and DO SOMETHING. But there are other times when it makes more sense to wait by the riverside, alone, and see what unfolds. These days, I am looking for calm. I’m looking for a place to rest my weary heart. There is chaos all around, and big changes are coming, but right now, in the middle of the darkness, we wait. There is the suggestion of light visible from a distance—is it rising or setting? We wait. Each of us waits. It is tempting to push, to pray, to plan ways of making it better, getting it over with, when the most productive action is to rest quietly waiting. Grateful for any soft moss upon which to rest. Grateful for gentle currents flowing by, bringing with them the recognition that as crazy as our world is, Mother Earth still follows her own rhythms. Grateful for the soft wind, which carries the scent of the world as it once was or the world as it could be. For now, we can only wait and stay calm, curious and kind. Gentle waiting is a helpful place to be right now. It will unfold. It will be painful. It will be a wild ride, and we can’t possibly imagine right now what awaits us on the other side. Only that it will come, in its own time, in its own way, and the world will be a different place. Rest with me by the riverside. Feel the earth, solid beneath us. Feel the new life stirring. Feel the spasms of labor beginning to throb.
Waiting, 24"x36", original oil on canvas by Kate Emery