And the people stayed home. Read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. They listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. The people began to think differently.
And the people healed. In the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
When the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
When I first read this on Instagram, I thought it was a quote from a movie or a novel. A writeup from years ago. I thought it must have been nice to heal from whatever it was that had troubled the world of the characters. Envisioning what it must have been like after the said danger had passed. I imagined doors opening after months or possibly years of staying shut. I pictured people stepping out, looking at their neighbours with new admiration. Expressing pure joy for having survived, staring at the destruction that had occurred. Deciding to live differently, to give roses daily.
I imagined there’d be many hugs going around, with shouts of thankfulness, and tears of new hope. Picturing the people in a state of new zen. I imagined what a glorious day it must have been. I saved it, thinking it would be cool to look back at when this corona pandemic is over. In many ways, we would emerge like those characters in the movie or novel.
2020 and its upheavals…
We are three months into 2020, and already, we have experienced the Australian bushfires, the Indonesian and Jakarta floods, the Puerto Rico earthquakes, the Ukraine plane crash, Kobe Bryant and daughter among nine killed in a helicopter crash, and now the coronavirus; which has shaken the entire world to its core and made parents more appreciative of teachers and childcare providers. The year has indeed been off to a very weird start. Do you see the world differently now that you are stuck at home? Are things more in perspective? Are you more appreciative of freedom? Of knowing you could jump in your car, or on the train, or an aeroplane and go wherever you wanted to go? Hang out with friends and family and talk about sweet nothings? Are you reconsidering giving people their roses?
The uncertainty looms large and we can only hope that the period is ephemeral. While we do not have control over how long this period is going to last, we have control over what we do in this time of quarantine. Personally, I am a brooder. And I have been brooding about giving people their roses while they are alive. Some people can attest to the fact that years ago the Bamenda girl in me did not like flowers. I have become a little- what’s the word? I was going to say civilized but let’s go with acculturated. So yes, I do love my flowers now, so give them to me, while I can smell them.
I had an aunt who was the sweetest woman you would ever meet. Such a gentle spirit. Such a gem. She was my mother’s rock while my mother was pregnant with me and sick to her bones. My mother named me after her. She took care of us; my siblings and I, like we were her own flesh and blood. She was humble, kind, and ever-present when anyone needed her. Ever so often while I was in town shopping, I’d swing by her shop to say hi. But I never got to do anything significant for her.
She was wonderful and I never got to tell her that. “I love you” is not a phrase we hear too often (a topic for another day). But when she passed some years ago, I found myself scrambling to send cash for her funeral. Crying my eyes out asking myself why I hadn’t done more when she was alive. I earnestly did not give her roses.
I had yet another aunt who was one of the strongest people I ever met. The poor woman buried all four of her children and still went around cheerfully. Serving in her church in as many capacities as she could. I never told her I thought her strength was beyond this world and I loved her for that. I could go on and on about the many times I wished I had verbalized my appreciation or admiration. This circle of showing up mostly for funerals has been a recurrent theme for me. However, I am more mindful of giving roses to the living theses days.
Television on a grand scale and all forms of social media have been profound sources of distraction. I have seen countless entertaining videos on social media and have laughed myself to tears. From “He’s got the whole world challenge”, to the “Savage challenge” to “something challenge”, to all the other crazy things social media has to offer. May this period, for each of us be a boon to wellness, mental development, growth and family time. Whatever positive activity we assiduously envision, may we actively pursue them.
May we do a lot of soul searching and find true meaning in life, and what matters. Give roses to the living. Do meaningful things. You may consider them little. To the ones you love, it is all they need to get them through a rough day. Consider calling that uncle and tell them you are thankful for the money they sent for you to buy books and other studying material.
To give roses could be in several forms. Text the friends who held your hand while you went through your flummoxed teenage years. Reach out to that person who stood by you in your exciting early twenties (maybe too exciting for your own good). The ones who were your moral compass or the greatest wingmen ever. Even if you are not friends like that anymore. Call that aunt and tell them you appreciate the time they cooked and sent you food. Hoping you would be nourished to study. Think of sending an email to that cousin who encouraged you to be passionate about your dreams. Even when no one else thought they were valid.
Kitty O’Meara’s wrote The people stayed home in March 2020. In the heart of COVID 19. It has been trending on social media as it resonates with millions of people. There have been some irksome turn of events since the year began. Although it feels like we have been unfairly heaped with adversity, Like the people I envisioned in the movie and the novel, may we emerge a healed people. Make new choices, dream new images, and find new ways of being, give roses. To Kitty O’Meara , her poem “offers a story of how it could be, what we could do with this time.”
I earnestly believe it is going to be a bonny year. Let us meditate, pray, and begin to think differently. Most especially, let us spread love like there is no tomorrow.