We have been forced into a reckoning with this pandemic. Forced to look squarely at ourselves…to be alone with ourselves way more often that even we introverts would prefer. The do-ers and the extroverts are having an especially tough time. Their prison walls seem a lot closer. Those who are working the front lines are face-to-face with our separation…plexiglass, face shields, masks, gloves, distance. Literally, we have lost touch…and we are suffering for it. Longing for it. Missing it. It is painful.

It is painful for health-care workers in ICU’s to watch patients die with no family present, suited up in protective gear, unrecognizable. It is painful for families, grandparents, parents, siblings and friends to forgo traditions of gathering for meals, celebrations, vacations. It is painful for spiritual communities who now care for each other by holding distance rather than embracing and singing as one. Painful for children having to learn on their own rather than in a classroom filled with friends and the excitement of growing together. It is painful for young and old. Painful in so many ways.

It is painful to be alone, to feel separated, as if life is passing us by. But like all pain, we might decide to use it, this collective pain, this forced exile, to open us up. Not to fight it, complain about it, wish it wasn’t…but to find a way in it, a new way of being. It’s not an easy thing to do and not all of us will be successful. But some of us might just be inspired.

Our inspiration arrives slowly, maybe in tiny steps and glimmers. Inspiration grounded in hope and belief. Inspiration buoyed by others, who despite the odds against them and the pain they have endured…have humility and love emanating from their heart. How can it be, we ask ourselves…that one is asked to bear so much sorrow? How can they not be completely broken? Can I possibly have the same resiliency in me?

The answer is yes. Having experienced pain, we have the ability to become a better version of our self. Not everyone is ready for this. But for those of us who are, there is no greater work to be done for all of humanity.

This I believe