In a white tent, from top to bottom, many sat together and alone; six feet apart, very much connected. I wished for a cup of coffee to go along with my solitude. No children to call my name, no work emails urgently awaiting me. Just fifteen minutes to make sure the first Covid shot and I were getting along.
Holy, holy, holy. Could there be anything holier than this?
I thought of those souls who didn’t get to this pure room of pausing. I thought of the two strong women, in uniform, who made up the team that triple checked my name and gave me my vaccine. I thought of the Pfizer scientists and the Pfizer custodial staff. I thought of those in the tent and those who still need our collective help to get to the tent. I thought of the GW alum who is helping to set-up FEMA mass vaccination sites and how I’d write him a thank you note when I got home; I thought of good government, how it doesn’t get much credit these days. Layers upon layers from the past months, all sitting with me in this blessed space.
How will we remember this moment, one of pain and pausing? Just as the door in that white tent shone light in and called us when our 15 minutes were up, I feel there’s some joyful doorway we’re all about to walk through. But even though we’ve had months to think about it, I feel completely ill prepared to greet the moment on the other side.
Will I be equipped to support the mental health challenges that our students will carry, along with their suitcases, back to campus? Will I leave behind the cultural mores that I was so happy to lose this year; will I be courageous enough to do so? Will I intentionally find ways to restore my home as a place of comfort and welcome, instead of a 24 hour workplace? Will I hold on to the gratitude for simple moments, of sitting with my parents at a dinner table, of holding my baby niece, for having lunch with a friend or hugging a student I haven’t seen in too long? Will I be strong enough to keep learning the lessons of this year – on equity and racial justice and the power of one’s voice + vote – or will I make excuses and take myself out of the equation?
May we be bold and intentional. May we be grateful and patient, with ourselves and each other. May this miraculous moment not pass us by.