Web of Life January 21, 2022

I begin with this question:  Am I more afraid of dying from the coronavirus or of living in fear for the rest of my natural life?

Disclaimer: This is a strictly personal reflection. I am not casting aspersions on anyone else’s decisions vis-à-vis COVID.

It’s been two years to the day since I first became aware of the impending pandemic. I didn’t panic. I just prepared as best I could. My preparations included laying in a store of canned and dried foods as well as bulk supplies of flour and rice. I also bought N95 masks. I did NOT purchase cases of toilet paper, nor would I have even if I had thought about it! This was well before the first known cases of COVID even hit the shores of North America. By the time “15 days to slow the spread” was announced, I already had tons of Lysol sheets and aerosol spray, along with gallons of hand sanitizer. I was as ready as I could reasonably be to protect my family.

I wasn’t focused on preserving my life for my own sake. I was one hundred percent focused on doing everything I could to safeguard the lives entrusted to me:  my 90+ mom and my teenage daughter. My husband was included in that list but wasn’t as high in priorities. Truth is, I felt less responsible for him than the others simply because he was a fully functioning adult. I figured he could take care of himself. While he spent a great deal of time managing our financial life, I quickly found out that he had zero investment in anything remotely connected with sustaining our actual lives! He wasn’t even aware of the danger even as the pandemic rolled into the USA.

As “15 days” spread like butter in the hot sun, life with COVID became the norm. I launched myself into becoming proficient at Zoom and spent hours video conferencing with co-workers and colleagues each day. I created a “studio” on my patio, offering meditation and Sunday church services. We wiped down everything that came into the house from outside. My mom and I made dozens of cloth masks. My daughter’s was lined with a pocket into which we inserted a brown coffee filter as added protection.

Like nearly everyone at the end of 2020, we forfeited family gatherings during the holidays for fear of catching COVID. As soon as Leon County announced that the “vaccine” appointments were being taken, I signed my mom and my husband up. Relief was almost here! By March 2021, all three of the adults in my house were fully “vaccinated.” I use quotation marks because I refuse to change the definition of the word to suit the social convention. A vaccine confers immunity. As we all found out all too quickly, the shots didn’t do that. They are beneficial, apparently, but they are NOT vaccines.

With our relief and return to pre-COVID normalcy cut short in August of 2021, I felt at a crossroads. How did I want to live my life? The choices were surprisingly rich. They included:

  1. Catch the virus, get monoclonal antibody therapy, and isolate to protect my family.
  2. Get the booster shots for my family and me. After that, we could choose to return to Pre-COVID normalcy OR continue to isolate and practice “approved COVID protocol.”
  3. Skip the booster for my family and me, and choose to either return to Pre-COVID normalcy OR to isolate and practice “approved COVID protocol.”
  4. With or without the booster, return to Pre-COVID normalcy; i.e., travel, socialize, stop wearing a mask, etc.
  5. Do whatever felt right on any given day in any given circumstance.

None of these questions helped me. I finally had to ask myself:  How did I want to live? At that point, the following quote popped into my mind:

He who has a “why” to live can bear almost any “how.” – Frederich Nietzsche.

This led me to question my “why.” Ultimately, I’m a realist. I often say that every human being comes into this world with an expiration date. My favorite saying as a teenager was: “Don’t take life too seriously; you’ll never get out of it alive, anyway.” I’ve always contemplated the end of my life.

What’s so great about this life that I will cling to it at any cost?

My spiritual journey is taking me to a place where this life means nothing at all. It is merely a means to an end – to spiritual transformation whereby I truly come to know myself as an ever-evolving, eternal being. If there is life after this one, why am I clinging to this one? My answer is:  I hope I am not clinging to it! But I am clear on one thing: There are people who are dependent on me. So then, shall I live now in 2022?

I’m going to lean into the discomfort of a still-unsettled world. There is not yet consensus among the masses on the proper protocol for living with an endemic coronavirus. Eventually, most people will realize that it is nothing more than another seasonal flu. But the masses aren’t there yet. So, what do I do? I will take my lead from MLK, Jr.

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. ― Martin Luther King Jr.

 My spiritual journey invites me to get off the high horse of my egoic nature and walk humbly with my God. This situation is not about me, but it is for me. In surrendering to the highest within myself, I can clearly see the path forward for me. It’s remarkably simple: Out of respect for my fellow travelers, I will wear a mask because it helps them feel safe. I am at peace with that!

May all your decisions bring you peace!

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