I am sitting on the couch, watching out the window as the sun fades and breathing in the scent of vegetables roasting in the oven. It is pretty much a typical Wednesday evening, except tomorrow I will be back in this place again- and again Thursday evening, and Friday evening, and every evening after that for who-knows-how-long. A month ago I was planning a trip to Europe; I was supposed to return home today. Two weeks ago I was making plans with friends and visiting my favorite local coffee shops and gathering with my community. Today? My favorite coffee shops are mostly closed. I make plans to FaceTime with friends. And my little house church has become even more of a house church- as in, we each do not leave our homes but gather remotely over a video call. My life has become very small, and yet at the same time I hope my heart is growing larger.
We used to live under the illusion that we had control over our lives, didn’t we? That we could make plans and they would happen. That we were mostly safe and in control of our own destinies, that our health and wellbeing was mostly in our hands. That there were certain things in this world that could be counted on— jobs and routines and economies. A little virus has ripped a hole in that illusion, and we watch the world tremble at the reality that we were never in control.
There is destruction and hoarding and ranting and raving—a revelation of the lunacy that is a byproduct of utter fear. But there is also beauty and creativity and a linking arms across humanity—a byproduct of the kind of love that can only bloom in times of adversity and universal suffering. This, my friends, is why we will be more than okay. I don’t mean okay in the sense that there won’t be suffering and even death—that, as aforementioned, is inevitable and beyond our control. If you and I survive this, then we will face death in the form of some other tragedy down the line. No—what I mean is that love and light will prevail over fear.
We each have a role on this battlefield. A choice to champion the beautiful in each other. To love the marginalized by sacrificing convenience and abandoning the rat race for quieter days at home. It is our duty to find ways to plant joy where we are, to laugh and play and create—to do so, even now, is perhaps the greatest stand of defiance we can make to the darkness of fear that is determined to keep us small and afraid. We will be more than okay, though. We will bake and read books and dream big dreams. We will be together, even if it means we are separated by six feet or a computer screen. We will pray for the sick and the suffering, even if we cannot hold their hands and wipe their brows. We will cheer on the brave few who relentlessly march to battle, who show up day after day in ventilator-lined ICUs and do the brow-wiping and hand holding the rest of us cannot. We will celebrate the work of those who mostly went unnoticed before everything changed—the truck drivers and waste management professionals and grocery stockers and janitorial staff. We will write letters and sew masks and come together like never before. We will be more than okay, because love will prevail. A virus can ravish lungs and economies, but it will not ravish Love.
And so, beloved friends— Be brave. Defy fear. Seek creative ways to care for one another. Laugh and connect and imagine new ways of being. Life will be different, but perhaps it will be different in ways that will grow our hearts and root our lives to the things that matter most. Perhaps we will be more connected, more grounded, and more eager to spread joy right where we are planted. Perhaps we will be okay. No, I know it to the core of my being— We will be more than okay.