A long time ago, when I still thought the Bible had monopoly on predicting how the world would end, someone disputed that in a discussion with me and said “no, actually, the end of the world will come when the path from neighbour to neighbour disappears.” I was a teenager when I heard this and had no idea what they wanted to say, but it stuck with m. I was picturing the path between two homes, the literal, dried mud strip that we create because neighbours visit each other often. Or not … . And it may still be that…. But it is also so much more!
This week I handled communication for a large community amidst pandemic restrictions and what saddened me the most were the self centered reactions I received to measures meant to protect all of us. My heart breaks at every reaction which says “I am more important than everyone else,” I feel burdened every second someone blames and points fingers rather than assume that others may have it harder, that the world does not revolve around them, rather than asking “what is going on?” and more importantly “can I help in any way?”. In a moment when we are once again thrown in the whirlwind of a pandemic wave, spinning us faster and faster and out of any potential logic of action, the saddest part for me this week was how quick people were to lift an eyebrow, criticise and preach and how little room for not getting things right there was. This was the exhausting part. The constant sword above my head, as I am building the airplane in the air alongside my colleagues, that if I get a date, a word, a procedure wrong, the wave of negativity coming my way may sink me. Because, contrary to all expectations, I am human too. We all are.
This week, close to commemorating two years of a pandemic that has changed our lives forever, I am reminded that I am in fact … a service. And it is not entirely bad – the silver lining of this is that the work I need to do is to convince my brain that what I am providing is a service and that my actual family awaits for me warm and loving in the confines of our beautiful home. The rest is … a service. It has been, probably, the hardest lesson for me to learn in these two years of immense uprooting but the most important for my sanity.
Watching myself retire more and more into my home, I understood how the path from neighbour to neighbour can disappear. When it becomes too risky to put our hearts out there, we will armor up because it hurts too much and the wounds have no time to heal. And when all of us are shut tight into our shells and only reaching out to the people we are safe to touch, while all the time being wired from the most ancient times for connection and belonging, well, that will be the end of a world …