There is a parable of the long spoons that I think is amazing. A man visits Hell and what he sees there is more than disturbing. In front of him is a long table full of delicious looking food that makes his mouth water. The air is filled with the aromas of the food and around the table he sees people gathered. Strapped to their arms are long wooden spoons, making them unable to bend their arms, so while they continue to try, they are unable to bring the food to their mouths. They are lean and emaciated without the capacity to nourish themselves. They are literally starving.
The man is disturbed and leaves confused about what he saw. Next step on his journey is Heaven and there before him is the same long table with the same delicious, aromatic food. Also, there before him sits the a group of people with the same spoons strapped to their arms, unable to bring the food to their mouths. He is shocked and disturbed and then he looks closer. The people are using their spoons to feed each other and they are healthy and well nourished.
As time passes, day after day, I realize how different life is for the average American. We are used to so much and have a freedom many don’t. This virus we are fighting has changed everything about us, who we are, where we go, what we eat as well as what will our future looks like. It reminds me in many ways of the grief experience.
The similarities are pretty obvious. All of a sudden, there is a catastrophic event and your life is changed forever. It is like a bomb dropped and destroyed everything you knew. It affects everything about you and those around you. It’s tentacles are far reaching affecting every aspect of your life. It causes anxiety, fear, apprehension, sadness, confusion and almost every other emotion you can mention. For some it is difficult to eat, for others food is comfort. For some being busy is helpful, for others it’s exhausting. For some there has been a firm foundation and for others their house is built on sand. We are the same and we are different.
Losing someone you love is like the virus. In this case it’s tentacles reach around the world. Everywhere people are losing loved ones, losing jobs, losing businesses, losing their freedoms and everywhere there is change. The change came suddenly and knocked us to the ground. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
I mentioned that some have a strong foundation and they will survive this physically and mentally, but those who don’t will not, at least not going back to the way it was. Isn’t it important for us to recognize the differences? Shouldn’t we keep our eyes peeled for the ones that are struggling in ways we may have never experienced? Shouldn’t we be like the people who fed each other like in the parable?
Stories of unimaginable loss are everywhere, but stories of helpers and healers are everywhere too. People supporting each other, getting someone groceries, making cards for Healthcare workers, thanking the Postal Worker who comes in contact with thousands of people everyday, There are people that are still working and trying to provide us the services we need and are used to. Our very freedom has been affected by this monster we call the “Virus”.
We will survive this, but much like grief, we will never be the same.We can’t be, can we? Shouldn’t we be better? Let’s be like the people with the long spoons. Let’s continue to feed each other until this monster is slain.
I’m starting to see a light at the end of the maze. I know it’s there, a bright sunny day full of hope, full of happiness and freedom to pursue the future. As we all try to leave the maze the virus created, let’s remember to look around us and when needed, offer our neighbors our spoon.