For some time now, I have felt that I am living in the space in-between. I am at the age to have experienced the death of loved ones whom I think of often with growing awareness of my own mortality. So I inhabit both the physical world and a spiritual world filled with ghosts. I doubt I am alone with these thoughts.
Today, we are all asked to pay attention to yet more spaces in-between. Two are most pronounced. There is the six-foot space we need to respect, human to human. There is the space between the concerns of our personal lives and the needs of the human community.
A force called COVID-19 has hit the refresh button and made each of us look at what works and what needs change–personally, nationally, globally. Time, money, family, and home are all personal priorities. But this pandemic is a great equalizer and makes me look at these issues in the bigger picture. It’s not just about my survival, it’s how can my survival most benefit others? How can I be of service? I ask these questions of myself, my community and my country. My thoughts reside in the space in-between.
After worrying about money for most of my life, I feel secure about that for now and am grateful I can use some to help others. The commodity that seems in short supply is time; time management is the challenge. With so much time available each day, how do I make the most of it? Perhaps I’ll break it down hour by hour. As I age, the bigger picture is where do I want to spend the rest of my life, and with whom? Is my home really my home? Where is my home? Is it this apartment where I live with an aloof feline who sleeps next to my thigh? Or is home the place where our families reside–blood family or chosen family or both? Can home be virtual–on Zoom or Google? Does home need to involve touching (touching is definitely preferable)? If my life had to continue in this isolation without the ability to actually reach out and touch someone or even be within six feet of them, then this place where I reside could only feel like a prison. What kind of home do I want my country to be? How does that influence this physical planet where I make my home?
I’m using more apps than ever. Video calls turn the faces of friends into sacred icons. Like stained glass windows they break through my walls to let in the sun and bury deep into the chambers of my heart. Watching someone’s lips move can be an intimate, even erotic experience. Except for lipstick, I’ve stopped wearing make-up. I wear lipstick that lasts for hours, and I wear it all the time. Happily, like many women, I’m not wearing a bra. I’ll leave that to cross-dressing gender explorers.
I live alone with my cat Piggy Stu. But I watch the news, so other people enter my home via the airwaves. Some are more welcome than others. I am grateful for the hard work of Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Their efforts show what it means to be public servants. I resent the self-serving blasts from POTUS who is his own best cheerleader. No amount of pom-pom swinging can distract from his ineptitude or his desperation. He scrambles like just another guy trying to hold on to his job. I try to have compassion, a quality he may never possess. I don’t hate. I seek to understand and increase understanding. So I write and I teach. And I love because love is the answer. I will always believe that.
It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day. Spring is always the shortest season in New York. Soon I will go out for a walk to appreciate the birds and the flowers and the fresh air. I will pass locations that hold so many memories, some newer than others. Thoughts of happy and sad times with living friends and ghosts. The streets are now canyons in the land in-between. To protect myself and others, I’ll wear a mask. My best friend Annie sent me one that says LOVE. My favorite is a multi-colored bandanna I rediscovered. It’s a memento from my husband, a beloved now on the spiritual plane. I opened the bandana to fully admire its design and had to laugh at the cosmic joke. Within the kaleidoscope were the words “Grateful Dead.” Ah, dear Stu, he could always make me smile. In this space in-between, in this time of isolation, I am never alone.
How are you staying connected?
#Coronavirus #Covid19 #StuartCottingham #GratefulDead #DonaldTrump