This blog features reflections on current affairs through the lens of my Quaker faith and practice and offers not only analysis but a perspective on hope, renewal, and reconciliation - a “lift”, as I call it - during these stressful, chaotic times.
I hope that you will use the Comments feature to participate with me and with each other. I believe it will be enriching to us all.
For the past few weeks I have been enjoying a Zoom reunion with my college friends of more than fifty years ago, many of whom I haven’t seen since graduation in 1965. And I understand many of you are also enjoying reunions with family and friends who you also haven’t been in contact with for a number of years. The Zoom calls are the source of a sweetness of renewed reconnection, not only with old family and friends themselves, but also with the long-shelved memories of the varied places and dramas and challenging circumstances of our lives evoked by those relationships. So chalk one up for the gift of reunions brought to us by our adaptations to the lock down and the amazing technology that provides us with these refreshed connections.
The heart of a reunion with family or old friends, however, is ultimately less about reacquainting and reminiscing as it is a reunion with ourselves. Each session leads us into recalling a whole range of personal evolutions in our lives: places where we lived; poignant experiences of transitions (good, bad, indifferent and many perhaps mercifully forgotten); moments of success and disappointment; loves and losses along the way; decisions to be celebrated and rued; the role of just plain luck; and all these supported by a cast of hundreds, if not thousands, of characters who have accompanied us on our journey: family members, co-workers, mentors, guardians, and a bunch of warm friendships that scroll down through our memory like credits after a movie.
The combination of recollections of our past lives and their emotional stirrings also may give rise to a recalibration of our current and future life priorities and, perhaps, for the older ones among us, a renewed awareness of the limitations on our anticipated life span. For me the opportunity for cherished reunions has provided me a sort of settling into acceptance and celebration of my life that also quiets my soul. I am recollecting my life these days more in terms of wholeness and fulfillment, like putting the pieces together in a personal jigsaw puzzle. The delight in rediscovering old friendships and the precious memories they evoke, combined with contemplating how I am to live the final years of my life, seem like solid bookends of perspective to help manage and benefit from these amazing coronavirus days of suspense, surprise and personal reflection.
If you haven’t been part of a Zoom-based reunion I am celebrating here, please consider organizing one or joining an existing one. And for those who have been part of the stay-at-home-reunions, continue to look for more, each one with the potential for another mutually rewarding surprise. The circumscribing of our lives during this stay-at-home era ironically may be remembered warmly as the precious time when our lives were also stretched, enlarged, and re-unioned with others and ourselves.
Blessings and peace to you, my friends,