February 18, 2021

Facebook likes to remind us of the past. It does so by reconnecting us with old friends, family, teachers from our youth and provides a platform that can hold loads of groups for nostalgic purposes. It also has a “memories” feature which shares with you the things you posted on that day a year (or more) ago.

It’s always fun to be reminded of what you wrote, especially if the memory comes with that desk-head-hitting feeling of “my god, I’m not really a very good writer.” That feeling always comes, even if it was good writing. It’s a vulnerability catching yourself in the act of creating. It always looks messy.

Today’s offerings from the past were of a year ago, one of the first posts I put up about the pandemic and quarantinee.

“There is a kind of callousness in our world that seems to be gaining speed. A man, quarantined on the ship that docked in Cambodia (where he was booked as a stand-up comedian who specializes in…mental health and suicide prevention?) basically left quarantine without permission (though he’s apparently tested negative) and then booked a flight home, to Seattle and then back to Eugene. And, he’s tweeted about it and gotten a grand amount of news coverage (and a hell of a lot of angry tweets about his callousness). I did not tweet at him, because I usually don’t, but I felt a nearly indescribable bubble of rage at not only his action “I want to leave so I will” and the showing off of it “Live at 8 I’m on WXYZ about my stint on the Glove boat” and his sharpness with the tweeters. It’s really all a game to a lot of folks. I feel entirely alien.

I get the desire to leave quarantine. I’d be terrified that I”d lose my job and house and etc, but also I would be petrified that I’d wind up killing people with germs.”

I should not have been surprised at this point at the callousness shown by the unfunny man who wanted to get a little extra attention at what he likely thought was just a few weeks of world wide flu. Joke was on him!!! Less than a month later, Oregon was on “lockdown” which is a misnomer because no one was locked out of anywhere. But the virus has had a year long party, hundreds of thousands have died, 2020 went ahead and held 2021’s beer and half the country is under snow and ice while a plague rages on. Someone should get in touch with Mr. Cruise Ship. I sure hope he’s ok. He sang one of the first songs of the pandemic, the song of “I will get mine, I don’t care what you think, you cannot make me.”

Facebook memories also showed me that on February 18, 2015 I posted a snippet of TS Eliot’s Ash Wednesday.

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

And so I pray, today the second day of Lent.

Let my cry come unto thee. Through Medium posts and Facebook memories, on Twitter and within Instagram, let my pleading cry come to thee. I see prayers for warmth and food, fixed pipes and dry floors. I see the wails of those who are lonely and isolated, afraid and trapped in homes for months and months. I see righteous anger at leaders traipsing off to humid climes, and at shock jocks who helped wreck our discourse.

I hear this cry from all corners to be seen and to be seen and to be seen.

Suffer us not to be separated from each other nor from God, nor from the self and if we have to find some semblance of connection on a algorithmic pre-populated page online, so be it. Maybe these cries for justice, for food, for housing, for warmth and basic human needs be heard, be met.

It is a hard time right now. It is always a hard time, is it not? Do we share those hard times and harder times and give what we have to those who have not, hoping much will be given back in return?

I don’t know. I just know it’s been a year and my own cry against callousness still waits in the heavens to be heard. Or perhaps it has been, and I have my answer.


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