During an event such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to be overwhelmed. People we know and love could/will/have succumbed to the virus. Fear and anger battle for supremacy of our attention as isolation increases. The news seems ever grim. In spite of this, unity has never seemed greater (or at least more achievable).
Unity: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
I’ve said it before as have others. This is an unprecedented time in our history. And a few weeks in, the effects are being felt. Folks are still “stocking up” on paper goods and other essentials to the point of hoarding, leaving empty shelves and mass shortages for those of us who are not following that lead. People are wary of going out to buy food or essentials because of virus exposure risk, to then not find what they need, making shopping a frustrating and emotional experience.
Recently, a friend of mine posted, “I miss hugs. Remember, hugs?” on Facebook. Others have had to welcome babies into families through posted pics or phone calls as no one other than the key players is allowed to be at the hospital. Families have been unable to hold funerals or memorials for loved ones lost. People are losing jobs, not getting paid because of layoffs, furloughs or shutdowns, have no healthcare benefits, et al. The majority of us understand all of this on a very personal level.
“I’m Not Okay (and You Might Not Be Either),” writes Martha Kirby Capo of the Corner Crone – Patheos Agora blog. A sentiment that is being echoed by others (and me in this post). And as strange as it sounds, there is a unity to be found in knowing we are going through this hard time together.
As physically isolated as we may be, we are not actually alone. Everyone has a story to share about how COVID-19 has affected them. Because it has. “No man is an island” (John Donne – 1624, written during a period of great illness) remains ever true. There are people who understand and with whom we can commiserate through a variety of means. Something our ancestors did not (safely) have when they faced their own plagues.
Unity: Connecting Through Social Media
Say what you will about Facebook, or other forms of social media, but these platforms are what’s holding us together right now. Solidarity through picture and personal trivia challenges (currently — 10 Things I Dislike That You Might Possibly Love Or Like), weekly check-ins, watch parties, etc.
And we can still “do” things. Through oldies but goodies such as Blog Talk-Radio, Car and I participated in an Ostara ritual a few weeks ago. As mentioned in another post, I’m offering morning guided meditation on our Facebook page at 8AM EST, Monday – Friday. Car is hosting Sunday chat sessions at 2PM EST through Zoom. And our Patreon Exclusive Channel on the 3PaaC Discord is open to anyone who wants to listen as we record 3 Pagans and a Cat and interact with us during the episode on Saturday’s at 7PM EST for the duration of the pandemic.
Many people are taking advantage of Zoom, YouTube, and other ways to connect or reach out. For instance, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids created a beautiful “virtual choir” (with video submissions from the community) for a heartwarming rendition of Lean On Me. Andrew Lloyd Webber (with a cameo from Donny Osmond) has hosted a “Sunday Sing-Along.” And let’s not forget the living room concerts, operas, ballets, theatrical performances, and museum tours. For instance, this post with the 50 best virtual museum tours from all over the world! My point is, we are finding ways to support one another through this terrible time.
Unity: I’m Not Talking About “Oneness”
Now, I’m not blind or stupid. Obviously, there are still divisions among us when it comes to politics, religion, worldview, and all the other things which we as human beings tend to argue or disagree. There are things that remain infuriating to all of us in one way or another. Ideologies where we cannot seem to come together. That seems to be part and parcel of the gig.
However, in my view, there is a unity in our current experience should we choose to look for it. Maybe not as a “whole” (as in humanity) but within our groups and communities.
Some people will find comfort in prayer and that’s okay even if it doesn’t make sense to the non-religious. There are those who do not have the SPOONS to do anything right now. And that’s okay too. Give those people space to “be absent” if that’s what is needed. Some people will use the self-isolation for Hermit Energy, learning and creating. While still others will prefer to make use of their witchcraft.
Whatever shape it takes, there is a unity found within all these responses. We may be solitary, but we are not alone. And one way or another, we will find our way to the other side of this thing.