A lesson in interdependence

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Apr 17, 2020

Spending pretty much all my time at home has been quite an experience. Not exactly like what I thought retirement would be — but then, I never imagined a retirement where I'd still be working and hanging out at home all the time.

We have been fortunate to have quite a few dry days, so getting outside with the dogs has been not only possible, but actually appealing a lot of the time. The dogs are quite pleased with this development, as they both like company while going about their doggy pursuits. Rosie and I walk a path around our property (we are also very fortunate to have land of our own for socially distanced exercise), and Maureen and I together take Cushla to a nearby spot where she can run without running into — well, anyone. She generally does not get out of her backyard pen very often, so this business of having two humans around to take her out has been a lot more like it should be.

One recent minor accomplishment has been learning how to walk with hiking — or if you're more accomplished than I am, trekking — poles. It really helps with stability and taking some of the weight off creaky old joints. Plenty of healthy young folks on YouTube are ready to show you how to use them.

I have learned how to do church via videoconferencing — or at least how to take part in church that way. I don't have anything to do with the technical aspects of the service, and I'm very grateful for those whose expertise makes it possible. Those virtual gatherings really are a lifeline for me. The absence of actual, physical services has taught me how important being part of a spiritual community is, even for an introvert like me.

We have also ventured into playing games via videoconferencing, getting together virtually with a friend and sharing time and laughs. Maureen and I also play real-world cribbage to entertain each other. One can only watch so much TV, after all. And we have been watching plenty.

Perhaps I should not admit this, as a journalist, but I have been consuming a lot less news in the last few weeks. I know the news is bad and mostly getting worse. I know any light at the end of the tunnel right now is probably from an oncoming train, and I'm just keeping a short horizon, getting by one day at a time. What will I make for dinner tonight? Is it time for a dog to go out? Where shall we walk today?

I have enjoyed getting outdoors more, and talking to family more, and even reading more. I miss my coworkers, the energy I get from being part of a busy hive of people working together. I miss being out in the world talking to people, going to movies or to dinner, even having friends over.

And I wonder how I, and our society generally, will be changed when it is finally safe to come out and play again. It doesn't seem like we could just take up life as usual once more without missing a beat. Will we be wiser, kinder, more discerning about the information we consume? Will we be more selfish, perhaps remaining hoarders even when times are better, more cynical, harder? If I could imagine a silver lining to this grim time, it would be that people learn some humility and come to value each other more, simply for their humanity.

I hope this disaster enables people around the world, and especially here in the U.S., to truly understand the meaning of interdependence — that nothing in this world exists on its own, separate from everything else. We are all connected, humans, animals, trees, butterflies, buildings, everything. And it will take all of us, working together, to pick up the pieces and re-form them into a world that fosters the life of all. May it be so.

Sarah Reynolds, a longtime Courier Publications staff member, is editor of The Republican Journal.


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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Apr 18, 2020 13:04

Speaking of hoarding made me remember my Mom and other Moms in Boston during the WW2 rationing. Yes I was a child then, I am that old and proud of it. The moms swapped food coupons for food they cooked and it was called sharing. Nothing was wasted and people scoured their pantries for metals for the war. Neighbors became friends and life was scary but somehow we kiddies found security in the neighborhood. What goes around surely comes around! Stay safe Sarah.

 



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