By Rev. Tanía Márquez, Assistant Minister
When I was 14 years old, while visiting my family's town in Southern Mexico, a group of friends invited me to climb to the church's bell tower from where we could see the procession of people coming into the town to celebrate its annual festival. To get to the bell tower, we had to go through a dark and narrow spiral staircase. While looking forward to the view from the town's highest building, the time we spent in the staircase seemed endless. I was afraid, mostly because it was hard to see beyond the step I was about to take, and it was the voices of the people I couldn't see, but who were there with me, that encouraged me to keep going.
When we first received the notice to stay at home a few weeks ago now, I personally had plans-I signed up for free online courses and placed a pile of books next to my bed. I was going to make the best out of staying at home-only to find myself unable to read all that I wanted, with little motivation to complete all of the classes, trying to figure out how to balance my work at home and my family, who are with me all the time. I overestimated my energy and I underestimated the range and intensity of emotions I was going to feel.
Maybe you're past the initial shock, maybe you're just understanding the seriousness of this pandemic, maybe you're already grieving the loss of a loved one or fearing for your well-being.
There is no right way to go through this, so I invite you to simply acknowledge where you are, and from that place ask yourself what you need.
These are not normal times, we are in crisis, we are grieving, we are trying to survive. And the tasks we so easily did before, the work we felt so capable of doing, seems to take twice the amount of energy, double the effort.
We are trying to function while carrying the weight of an aching world around us: worrying about our well-being, about the health and well-being of our friends and family members, waiting patiently and impatiently for the moment we can regain a sense of normalcy or certainty, bracing ourselves for what is still yet to come.
Come back to what's simple, to what?s essential, to what's needed. To tending to your most basic needs, to reaching out to others, to hold each other in the sacred space created when we bear witness to each other's struggles.
Don't give in to the need to be perfect, to know it all, to have certainty. The answers we're seeking aren't readily available. The people around you are also holding deep questions, and simply holding the questions can help us dig deeper in ourselves, and collectively, as we veer our course toward tomorrow.
There may not be a lot of light around as we try to navigate this turning point, maybe we're all in a very long and dark spiral staircase together trying to make our way out. Trusting the voices of our beloved friends and family reminds us they are with us, too. Blessing the light helps us see enough to keep moving forward, taking one day at a time, one moment at a time.
Whatever it is that is offering you some ground to keep moving, that is shining some light on your path, you hold on to it. Hold on to each other, hold on to this community, hold on to the science and facts that offer some clarity, hold on to the stories of average human beings working together to do the unimaginable, hold on to silly stories and the brief moments of grace and joy that still surprise us. In the words of famous singer Fito Paez, "Who said that everything is lost? I come to offer my heart." Come offer your heart. The love and compassion it holds is the light we need to keep going.
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