Sunday Morning

My father had died in a single-vehicle accident in California, far from those who knew and loved him. As I grieved, my father’s death brought a certain clarity about my calling as a husband and parent. If my relationship with my dad had been marked by brokenness, I wanted my relationship with my wife and children to be marked by healing. It also forced me to re-evaluate my career. Impressing other writers and academics ceased to be my goal. Instead, I would focus on using my words to find beauty and hope. I couldn’t write a different ending for my father’s story, but I could show that a different ending was possible for others.

Over the past year and a half, many people have experienced something similar to what I did when my father died. I am not the only one who has received a terrifying call that wakes us from our slumber and changes us forever. It may have been a notification about a loved one going on a ventilator rather than dying in a car crash, but the trauma is the same. This pandemic has left conversations and lives cut short…

All these changes that people are embarking on during the pandemic make me think that we weren’t that happy before the pandemic. What about our lives prevented us from seeing things that are so clear to us now? When I talked to friends and neighbors about this, two themes emerged. The pandemic has disabused us of the illusion of time as a limitless resource and of the false promise that the sacrifices we make for our careers are always worth it.

Before the pandemic, we knew we were going to die, but we did not believe it. Maybe we believed it, but considered it a problem to be dealt with later. In the meantime, exercise and a reasonable diet was the tithe we paid to our fears. We believed we had time…

We have had to consider our collective mortality. And we are now faced with the question of meaning. Like the biblical psalmist says, “We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.” (Psalm 124:7). Covid-19 threatened to capture us in its snare, but thus far we have eluded it.

What shall we do with this opportunity?

Dr. Esau McCaulley, from “We Weren’t Happy Before the Pandemic,Either.” Dr. McCaulley is a professor at Wheaton College in Illinois., (NY Times, August 21, 2021)

Comments

  1. oh, he is so right. sometimes, we as humans need a wakeup call to remind us of our mortality and what is really important.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My husband is in AL, his father’s funeral was yesterday. We all haave our day and his father’s were all spent well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The pandemic has undoubtedly brought fresh perspective in so many ways. The challenge now is to process the lessons offered and figure out what happens next. Easier said than done, I am learning….

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you for sharing this poignant and thought-provoking article, David. I love the word “opportunity” and I shall weave this into my day and my life.❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ironically today is the anniversary of my dad’s passing. In the Jewish religion, we commemorate this day with a candle that burns for 24 hours. He was the keeper of all my secrets, my biggest cheerleader and co-conspirator in any clandestine trip to a bakery anywhere. He walked me to school everyday until I graduated high school (it was on his way to the subway), and when I worked midtown, we’d head in together everyday. Far more than a loss I remember once a year – one fo the greatest gifts of my life.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. Vera Kanigan says:

    So very, very true and well expressed. Thanks, Dave for the beautiful post. Sometimes a moment or short call is all we need. When my Mom was alive, she became hard of hearing and would call, saying: “Hello, how are you doing?” At times, not hearing the answer, she would hang up quickly. However, she kept calling all her family,..Healing takes many forms.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. About once every two to three weeks, my 90 year old aunt calls me from her home in Pondicherry, India. I never had regular phone calls with her before Covid.
    On WhatsApp, my extended family on my mother’s side, created a group conversation – most of the family is in France with some of us in North America, Mexico, India and South America — again, this is a Covid inspired creation.
    On Sundays, my two sisters and daughters and I have regular Zoom calls. we didn’t do this before Covid – we are spread out across western Canada so even before Covid, visits had to be planned.
    My goal — is to keep these contact points alive and well as we move beyond Covid restricted life. They enrich my every day.
    Thank you for this beautiful share, David. Lovely

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Perspective, challenges, choices. Nothing like death to remind us about living.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A Beautiful reminder. He speaks the truth. And yet, I continue to see people turn away from this and move into the safety of familiar. 😞

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dr. Esau McCaulley, is a wise man…Each Breath is a Gift and with each breath we come closer to completion… /// Yesterday, the 21st was the sixth anniversary of my Mom’s passing , forward…Sure miss her…/// Years ago, our former church secretary’s son graduated from Wheaton College in Nursing…he went on to the military as an officer…while in the medical division he meet his now wife a local gyn doctor – who is privileged to witness a babies 1st breath of O2 outside of the womb… /// ps I made 2 reply comments, earlier responding to Mimi’s , comment…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This past year and a half has given us an opportunity to tune in and be more aware of our own needs, values , and how we want to live our lives. Let us take time for reflection , and not draw a curtain over this window.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very well said and needed for the times.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on renplus.

    Liked by 1 person

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